Its really easy to review Delivery Man, if only because I already did, eight months ago. This is nearly a shot-for-shot remake of the Québécois comedy Starbuck, now with an American cast, setting, language, and budget.
I knew this was coming, including Vince Vaughn’s casting as the prolific sperm donor, and I suppose I’m glad to see that’s the extent of his role. This could have been awful — a bro’d-up morass of dick and fart jokes — but writer/director Ken Scott has evidently retained complete control of his material, to the extent of using the English subtitles from Starbuck as a first draft of the adapted screenplay.
But despite being all but the same film over again, somehow Delivery Man doesn’t work quite as well as Starbuck. Vaughn just doesn’t come across as an aimless, dreamy slacker the way Patrick Huard did. Cobie Smulders isn’t bad as Emma, but she feels young and almost naïve. Julie LeBreton played Emma older, harder, and really made it stick that she wasn’t interested in putting up with any more of David’s crap. And Chris Pratt, I love, but Antoine Bertrand set up one of the few roles I would actually look forward to seeing Josh Gad play.
I will admit that it’s possible this is just because I saw Starbuck first. Maybe if I hadn’t seen the original, Delivery Man would have come off as a surprisingly pleasant Vince Vaughn vehicle, returning to the affability and charm he’s capable of rather than the douchery that’s been paying him big dividends for the last decade. Considered on its own, that’s pretty much how it comes off.
But the fact is that I have seen Starbuck, and it seems to be the clearly superior version. Unless you are physically allergic to subtitles, there is no reason to see the remake instead of renting the original. The second pass breaks no new ground and explores no new directions, and it’s simply unnecessary to anyone other than a movie studio that realizes that millions and millions more Americans will hear about anything Vince Vaughn does than anything coming out of Québec.
Worth It: no.
Bechdel Test: fail.