Talking Movies

January 9, 2014

Delivery Man

Vince Vaughn stars in a rapid, identikit American remake of a hit Canadian film by its original writer/director Ken Scott.

DELIVERY MAN

David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is an incompetent meat delivery man for the family business. He’s in disgrace with his father and brothers for predictably messing up their basketball team photo-shoot, $80,000 in debt to scary people, planning to grow marijuana in his apartment to raise money, and his estranged NYPD cop girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) has just announced she’s pregnant and doesn’t want him involved. Into this mess of a life intrude his 533 biological children… A lapse in judgement at a sperm bank has seen his 693 samples prove remarkably fertile and now 142 of these children are suing to find out just who is their father. His best friend house-husband Brett (Chris Pratt) renews his licence to fight for David’s right to anonymity, but David starts to act as guardian angel to progeny including troubled Kristen (Britt Robertson)…

Delivery Man is being misleadingly sold as a comedic romp. There are some laugh-out loud moments punctuated throughout the film, but in truth it’s a warm dramedy rather than a comedy. Simon Delaney makes no impact as David’s acerbic brother, Victor despite having comparable screen-time to his turn in This Must Be the Place, because of the poverty of the material available to him. Jack Reynor as David’s struggling actor son Josh has a glorified cameo in which his initial obnoxiousness is hard to overcome. Chris Pratt’s exhausted lawyer has the best lines and gives by far the funniest performance, but even that’s faint praise. The few of David’s children who are characterised; pretentious morbid philosopher Viggo (Adam Chanler-Berat), unstintingly cheerful busker Adam (Dave Patten), smooth gay lothario Channing (Matthew Daddario); are all caricatures, transparently there to service David’s arc.

Scott seems uninterested in proffering anything other than naive optimism. Despite his 80k debt David manages to find money to intervene positively in the lives of his children. His wise Polish father (Andrzej Blumenfeld) notes that David is four times slower than most delivery men, but is beloved wherever he goes. But what’s so loveable about David’s m.o. of being hopelessly unreliable then occasionally making a grand gesture? As Tom Walker pointed out to me, Vaughn makes his obligatory rapid-fire speech telling some home truths. But Scott avoids numerous knotty questions. Where are the parents who raised the 142? How do they feel?  Why do none of the 142 express hurt to David? And what about the other 391 – the clear majority – who have no interest in finding out the identity of the man behind the sperm donor pseudonym Starbuck?

Delivery Man is perfectly fine, it’s neither a hilarious comedy nor a touching drama, but is content to plod along efficiently somewhere in between; but that’s not a recommendation, more a lack of condemnation.

2.5/5

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November 29, 2013

Digital Biscuit 2014

The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) officially launched Digital Biscuit 2014 at their Annual Meeting for Irish Directors in Dublin on November 21st last.

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The inaugural Digital Biscuit 2013 proved a resounding success with both the industry and the public with over 4,000 attendees over the 3 day period. Digital Biscuit 2014 places creatives at its core while also serving as a digital expo for new technologies. The 2014 event promises a varied and packed programme: amidst cutting-edge presentations and product unveilings, representatives from the creative industries will deliver talks, discussions and seminars on matters that are crucial to production today, with an aim to not only inspire but also enable and spur on productivity. Digital Biscuit takes place at the Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin from January 22nd to 24th 2014 with tickets now available on www.digitalbiscuit.ie. Those in attendance at the AGM of SDGI last week included Irish directors Conor Horgan, Maurice Sweeney, Paddy Breathnach, Steve Woods and Brian Kirk. Irish Film Board representatives were also present and special guest, acclaimed French director, Arnaud Desplechin – fresh from a retrospective of films at the IFI’s French Film Festival.

“The aim is to make directors and people generally aware of the most up to date digital technologies in film making and indeed TV production” says Ciaran Donnelly, Chairman of SDGI and director of The Tudors and Vikings. “The aim of Digital Biscuit is to improve the production capabilities of our most talented creators from the simplest ideas to the highest budgets”. At Digital Biscuit 2014 The Paccar Theatre in the Science Gallery will host screenings, presentations, and panel discussions. This ticket-only area will host talks from exciting global talent and creatives including: Carlos Velasco (CEO, Neurosketch), Christian Fonnesbech (Director, Cloud Chamber), Jack Reynor (Actor, What Richard Did, Delivery Man and Transformers: Age of Extinction), Nick Meaney (CEO, Epagogix), Philip Einstein Lipski (Lars Von Trier Collaborator for Nymphomaniac). The Secret of Kells director, Tom Moore, will be giving the audience an exclusive sneak peek into the making of his upcoming feature Song of The Sea.

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This year’s Honorary Guest Director is Alan Taylor, who has clocked up credits on Mad Men, and then Game of Thrones, and most recently turned to cinematic fantasy with the massive hit Thor: The Dark World. As Honorary Guest Director, Taylor will engage in an informal conversation about his work and career. Meanwhile directors, writers, photographers, producers, editors, directors of photography, students and members of the public once again will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the bustling displays and demonstrations of new technologies in the KinoPlay Area, which is aimed at enhancing the production process and market for their creators. “We look forward to Digital Biscuit being once again a dynamic hub of national and global industry leaders, concentrated on enabling creativity by focusing on Ireland’s capabilities as a creative and technological leader in innovative film and television production” commented Birch Hamilton, Digital Biscuit’s Executive Director.

Tickets are on sale now on www.digitalbiscuit.ie. Workshop access requires registration on www.digitalbiscuit.ie with a registration fee of five euro, guaranteeing pass holders a place. The printable pass ticket pass is required on the day and will be the only way to gain entry to the workshops. Non ticket/pass holders can still enjoy the KinoPlay area and atmosphere of Digital Biscuit. All information on Digital Biscuit 2014, including information on partners, speakers, and the schedule will be available on www.digitalbiscuit.ie.

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