Friday, 24 January 2014

REVIEW - DELIVERY MAN


You can sense a slight despondency in Ken Scott's Delivery Man. It's the half-hearted whimper of a last-ditch attempt at the big time, before being pastured in a quick and cruel fashion that nobody really wants, but everybody really needs. Vince Vaughn has aged into an actor whom Hollywood will soon stop finding uses for: he's now playing the father of the characters he used to play, only he's still that same character himself. That's not the type of father figure audiences are looking for, alas. The warning signs are all over Delivery Man, with its supporting cast of young, upcoming faces. And the kicker comes when Scott seems to abandon all hope in Vaughn's ability to pull in the punters and devotes one key sequence to his straight man sidekick, Chris Pratt. It's in the framing, and the scripting: Pratt is the star of this show, taking that straight man role and effortlessly drawing out of it the funniest role in the entire film. There's something to be said for a film that loses its way without a supporting character, and, at that, one who spends most of the second act absent, and that something is not a good thing. Since Delivery Man is a comedy, and since it knows it, and since it is clearly the work of talented people just not trying very hard (Jon Brion wrote the score, which is a low for him but a high for the film), there are some successful gags in the film, though they're way too often undercut by schmaltz, contrivance and the nagging notion that Vince Vaughn fathered 533 children and they're almost exclusively slim and sexy. None of them have quite enough gall to consciously show Vaughn up - he's the daddy, after all. But daddy's looking a little tired, now, and a little despondent. Put him out to pasture already, and bring in some fresh meat. Bring in Chris Pratt.