Watching “Delivery Man” was like deja vu all over again. I say that because I already saw this movie in April when it was called “Starbuck.”
The French-Canadian, high-concept comedy was enjoyable and likable, which likely destined it for a Hollywood remake.
Remakes of foreign-language movies happen all the time, but what is unique this time around is that both “Delivery Man” and “Starbuck” were written and directed by the same person, Ken Scott.
I’m sure somewhere in the history of cinema that it’s happened before, but I can’t recall a time where a director has made the exact same movie twice in a row (must… resist… Michael Bay joke).
And when I say they are the exact same movie, I mean they are the exact same movie. Oh sure, “Delivery Man” has a different cast headed up by Vince Vaughn, and it’s in English of course, the setting has been shifted to New York City and Vaughn’s character plays basketball instead of soccer. That’s it. Seriously.
Everything else — plots, scenes, dialogue, jokes — is all exactly what came before. I’m sure if you went through both these movies shot by shot like they were the Zapruder Film, you’d find a lot of the same camera angles as well.
So is there anything new we can learn from “Delivery Man” that we didn’t already learn in “Starbuck?” I guess a lot of that hinges on how you feel about Vaughn.
I’ve always liked the guy and he’s well suited to play David, an aimless delivery truck driver whose repeated sperm donations some 20 years earlier result in more than 500 biological children.
He also has the chops to handle the sweeter, quieter moments as both movies have a lot of heart even if they are completely ridiculous.
Chris Pratt is also very good as Brett, David’s hapless best friend and barely competent lawyer who defends David in court when his children sue to learn his identity.
In the end, these are solid, if not particularly remarkable movies that will likely only be remembered, if at all, as a cinematic curiosity. I have to give Scott a lot of credit for being so extremely confident in his vision that he didn’t feel the need to change anything. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I suppose.
At any rate, “Delivery Man” does serve to provide further evidence that film critics are full of crap. When presented with literally the exact same movie “Starbuck” currently rests at a positive 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, where “Delivery Man” sits at a negative 38 percent. Trust me, Vince Vaughn and some subtitles do not make a 28-point difference.
In my personal dedication to critical consistency (you’ve got to have goals in life, man), I give “Delivery Man” the exact same semi-enthusiastic review I gave “Starbuck.
And, if you are at a loss as to which version is right for you, just ask yourself this one simple question: which do you like more, Vince Vaughn or reading? It really is just as simple as that.
“Delivery Man” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence, and language.