Chad White, Just got the double meaning of the title of the movie, Haha masturbation
Mild spoilers for the movie Delivery Man follow.
This past Saturday afternoon began like any other. I just finished a run and left the gym ready to fix a healthy meal consisting of homemade grilled chicken salad. And I drank about half a pint of chocolate milk after taking a wonderfully musical shower (I listened to Drake if you’re wondering). Dinner went well and I was settling in to my night, avoiding texts of going bowling or out to a bar. Around 9 PM, while I was playing Mario Kart on Wii U, I thought about my choices for movies. HBO just aired a one man led movie starring David Olyelowo I was super interested in; they also just got Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and I love that series to death. My Netflix and Hulu queues were overflowing with unwatched movies that had been sitting there for months -- in some cases years. And I own hundreds of DVDs and Blu Rays, many of which I haven’t bothered to watch.
But instead, I went against the grain and turned on Showtime. Why not? Lo and behold I found a movie that completely passed by me when it spent its few months in theaters. The Vince Vaughn led Delivery Man was added to my list a few weeks ago at a time when I needed some snarky but charming giant led comedy in my life. Feeling the need of laughter, I hit play and settled in for a cheap chuckle or two. I won’t bore you with any more detail about the movie set up but I have to mention how bad the volume on the Showtime app on Xbox One is. I turned my TV up to 70 before I could get it at a reasonable level. That’s neither here nor there.
Delivery Man began like any other comedy you would probably have seen in 2009. The opening minutes are so needless; it’s 20 minutes of pure, generic backstory. I hate set up in a movie that is blatantly obvious. At this point -- with the volume issue and lame character introductions utilizing lines like “’I’m your brother and our father owns this meat store in which we work!” and “you’re knocking on your pregnant girlfriend’s door at 3 AM!” (a real piece of dialogue. Sigh) – I was ready to turn off the movie and watch another episode of Friends. Things get interesting once the actual story kicks into gear. Vaughn is informed that he has sired 533 kids after being a major sperm donor at a period when he most needed money. Now, 192 of those kids want to know their real father. That sounds absolutely bonkers, right? It gets even better when Vaughn starts meeting with the now young adults under false pretenses. He injects himself into their lives to see if they are turning out to be good people.
Of course, the movie can only contain a handful of isolated stories so we don’t get full explanations of each kid and their lives. We get to meet the girl who is having trouble with her boyfriend and drugs; a struggling actor; a life guard and more. There’s never enough time to explore these people’s lives and we’re left with underdeveloped story moments that really should be expanded on. Limitations of film show through in an instance where Vaughn follows a young man who is cheating on all of his significant others -- both male and female. In the same moment, I said to myself “this would make a dope ass TV show.” And after letting the movie gestate for a full night, I really came into the idea of the show.
Think about it. It could be in the vein of My Name Is Earl wherein the main character (of course changed from Vince Vaughn to some unknown guy) finds out about the kids in the pilot and spends the entire series trying to get to know them. The idea of anonymity between father and children can be explored as it was a big part of the movie’s plot. In Delivery Man, Vaughn is being sued (for God knows what reason) through the sperm bank by the kids so they can find out who their biological father is. TV dad could do what Vaughn did and try to instill himself into the lives of the hundred odd offspring by meeting with them, giving them advice, or helping from afar. The movie did a decent job of executing this idea as seen when Vaughn goes to meet the barista son (whose name doesn’t matter; shut up) and offers him his meat delivery truck to get to a “chance of a lifetime” audition while Vaughn looks after the coffee shop. The kid is, of course, ecstatic; thanking Vaughn and sealing the older man as cool in his mind. However, like any coffee shop, business picks up and Vaughn is getting blasted with customers from behind while also being yelled at by one of his brothers for not doing his own job. This is a sitcom story in its own right.
Another part of the movie has Vaughn visiting a disabled son, Ryan -- who is confined to a wheelchair and has multiple sclerosis -- living in a local assisted living facility. Every scene Vaughn spends with him is remarkably touching; there is a real sense of emotion emanating from the lead actor as he carries all of the weight between the two of them. The first day they spend together seems to go nowhere. Vaughn thinks he didn’t leave an impact on Ryan but the head nurse believes otherwise.
Even in its bigger, more distracting moments the movie seems to prosper with candid sitcom ideas. Halfway through Vaughn’s stalking of his kids, he unwittingly walks into a coalition of them searching for their father. He becomes the center of attention by accident (don’t worry; they don’t know who he really is) thus careening his plan into difficult to maneuver through territory. Vaughn then turns into a friend of the group; someone his offspring can turn to when they need help. The large group throws a weekend event to get to know one another and Vaughn attends. He even brings Ryan on the second day so he can experience a sunrise with his family. And absolutely no one knows who Vaughn is (save for the one kid who figured it out). That’s a season finale right there.
Delivery Man is overflowing with stimulating concepts ripe for an ABC or CBS single camera sitcom. It will not be a spin off. Think of it as a remake of sorts. I’m not even adverse for original actors from the movie to pop in once in a while (that also includes the original film on which this movie is based). Colbie Smulders, Chris Pratt and Bobby Moynihan were horribly underutilized and this can be their retribution. The show could explore topics like two of the kids being attracted to each other and not knowing about the relation; a black, Hispanic, or Asian child not fitting in; and a Christmas episode about family and stuff. Four seasons of My Name is Earl and the pilot of Super Clyde have already laid out the foundation for a series about retribution. Delivery Man may not have been the best movie, a good movie, or even funny but I found it interesting enough to write this. And you read it. So who’s the real winner?