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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Delivery Man isn't your typical raunchy Vince Vaughn "frat pack" comedy. It's an American remake of a well-respected 2011 French-Canadian dramedy, Starbuck, about a 40-something slacker who discovers 142 of his biological children from anonymous sperm donation demand to know his identity. The movie, while mostly a comedy, contains some surprisingly heavy themes such as drug addiction, disability, and a potentially offensive abortion joke. The humor can be mature and sexual in nature (since Vaughn's character is famous for donating sperm more than 600 times, there are countless masturbation jokes), and there is drug use (a young woman overdoses on heroin) and marijuana plants (the main character tries to grow it at home) in the movie. Occasionally there's language ("s--t," "bitch"), but it's not overwhelming. Parents and teens who see it should be able to discuss parenthood and how it changes your life (hopefully for the better).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In DELIVERY MAN, Vince Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a lovable loser who spends his time working on get-rich quick schemes, delivering meat for his family's butcher shop, trying to grow marijuana, hanging out his his single-father pal Brett (Chris Pratt), and occasionally getting together with his cop girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders). One crazy day, David finds out he's not only about to become a father, but that he's already a father to 533 biological children thanks to a mix-up at a fertility clinic where he donated sperm (more than 600 times!) 20 years ago. One hundred forty two of the children are filing a lawsuit asking the clinic to reveal his identity, as all they know about him is his profile's pseudonym "Starbuck." Determined to get to know his kids without blowing his cover, David begins to visit a select group of his offspring and helps them in small but significant ways. But as David's baby's due date approaches, his identity grows more and more in jeopardy when one of his 533 kids figures out who he is and demands to spend time with him.
Is it any good?
Audiences expecting the typical Vaughn comedy will be disappointed with how serious this comedy can get. It tackles tough issues you wouldn't expect in a jokey movie about a guy whose overeager sperm donations resulted in hundreds of kids. What's more, the serious bits are off-putting and slightly shocking, from the casual way Brett -- in front of his kids -- tells David he should tell Emma to get an abortion and that his "kids know they're too old to be aborted" to the disturbing image of one of David's kids, Kristen (Britt Robertson), overdosing on heroin, and the fact one of his kids is severely disabled and non-verbal, to the unnecessary subplot about him owing some mobbed-up bookie $100,000. So a mega-family comedy this is surely not.
The trope of the unlikeliest bachelor becoming a father is a tired cliche, and unfortunately this film can't decide whether it's a serious look at how fatherhood changes even the most selfish and immature of men or a feel-good comedy about a masturbation-happy college guy discovering his 20-year-old "donations" had turned into hundreds of children. There are still some laughs, mostly when Pratt is around demonstrating how chaotic life is with four young children, but the movie never really clicks into place, and the predictable resolution is eye-rollingly maudlin, even for moviegoers who appreciate feel-good endings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about fatherhood and family? How does accepting his role as father change David?
Was the movie believable? Why or why not? Do plotlines have to be believable to work?
Is the movie what you were expecting or does it tackle deeper issues? How does it compare to other Vince Vaughn comedies?
- In theaters: November 22, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: March 25, 2014
- Cast: Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Vince Vaughn
- Director: Ken Scott
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language
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