Jumat, 06 Desember 2013

"DELIVERY MAN" Movie Review

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Bobby Moynihan, Britt Robertson, Jack Reynor

It is not unheard of for a director to do a remake of his own work. Alfred Hitchcock did it with The Man Who Knew Too Much. Michael Haneke released two versions of Funny Games. Director Ken Scott's 2011 film Starbuck received pretty positive reviews and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. His follow-up to that is an exact remake to that film, but now stars Vince Vaughn and is renamed as Delivery Man. David Wozniak (Vaughn) is an incompetent, irresponsible, delivery man working for his family's meat market. He cannot seem to handle any task large or small that comes his way. He decides to start growing marijuana in his apartment because he owes $80,000 to some drug lords. He soon finds out his ex-girlfriend Emma (Smulders) is now pregnant. He sees this as the eye-opener he needs to get his life back together if she will let him back into her life.
To make matters even worse, David finds out that he has fathered 533 children after donating to a sperm bank in his twenties. He made his donations under the name "Starbuck" and now 142 of them have gathered together to form a class action lawsuit for his identity to be unveiled. He is handed a list of names, contact information, and pictures of these 142 children and attempts to meet them without them knowing who he is. He wants to do some sort of good samaritan deed as each of them seem to have problems or be in some sort of rut. He turns to his friend Brett (Pratt), a non-licensed lawyer, for help on his case who strongly objects to every step David is taking when dealing with his new predicament.

Right from the opening scene you see that David is not a great guy. He is that irresponsible slob that you just do not have time for or even care about. With Vince Vaughn playing him, he brings out that cocky jerk type quality he brings into every role. You have no sympathy whatsoever for the character as he keeps making these dumb decisions over and over again. His good deed attempts try to be genuine, but the script never allows us to fully get to know these new children that he is helping. We only get to know roughly six of them that each get their basic introduction scene when David meets them and then fade into the rest of the group after that. The overall writing seems poor and disjointed at times. There is a general wash of emotion from the children as they all feel the same way about David. They all want to meet him and as the story unfolds they all still continue to feel chummy and happy about him no matter what lies and deception he has told. You cannot tell me that each of them would all react the exact same way or that a few of them wouldn't be a little more pissed off than the others. The subplot of David owing $80,000 is unneeded and feels out of place the very few times we come back to it. It feels like an unnecessary plot device to just show him off as a deadbeat.

I kept wondering if this was supposed to be a comedy, a drama, a dramedy, or some sort of feel good inspirational movie. To put it frankly, I got a little bored at times. That is what happens when I do not really care about any of the characters. I have heard wonderful things about Starbuck. Much of this remake is a direct replica of that as Ken Scott wrote and directed both of them, so I am wondering how this one really missed the mark. You may be thinking that I truly hated this movie, but that is not the case. It will not even make my Worst of 2013 list. There are already five films on the list that are worse offenders. It has an interesting premise, and I enjoyed the concept of the good deeds he does for his children. I keep calling them children, but they are all in their twenties. There is potential here, but it all comes down to the execution of how we get to the point. This same story and idea could have been structured in a different way with better character development and more heart to have the audience feel a bit more sympathy for David or the children. I know it would have been far more enjoyable with a different actor as the title character.  I wonder what it would have been like with either Steve Carell or Adam Scott as David.  Instead of re-imagining this movie, maybe I should just head over to my Netflix streaming queue as Starbuck is available in that format.

Selasa, 03 September 2013



Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson

I am a sucker for these types of "coming of age" or "growing into adulthood" type movies especially when they actually feature smart characters going through realistic situations. It is that time in your life when you are a senior in high school and you need to come to terms with what your next path in the life will be after you graduate. Sutter Keely (Teller) faces that exact problem as he starts to fill out those infamous college applications. I think we have all had to think about some experience that had a profound affect on our lives and talk about how we overcame such trouble. He starts writing about his recent break-up with the love of his life, Cassidy (Larson). A profanity laced response about a break-up is probably not the best response to a college entrance essay.

Sutter lives in the "now". He is always the life of the party with a big cocktail in his hand. Unfortunately, he typically has one too many cocktais on a reoccuring basis. On one occasion he decides to drive home but plows into the mailbox when he reaches home. After another all-nighter, he is awoken by Aimee Finecky (Woodley) after passing out in the middle of someone's yard. She has more of an innocent nature about her than Sutter does. She has never had a boyfriend, has ambitions for her future, and delivers the daily newspaper to her neighbors even though that is her mom's job. An ease and comfortable report naturally occurs between them in their first enoounter. A romantic adventure follows as these two opposites attract. Sutter is quick to point out that Aimee is "not a rebound."

One of the many reasons why this movie works so well and sets it apart from others in this genre is the very realistic approach and feel it has to telling this story. You will hear about this in almost all of the reviews you read. Director James Ponsoldt executes this natural feeling across the board. You will see very little make-up on Shailene Woodley or Miles Teller. Teller has minor scars on his face and a burn mark on his body. How often do ever see those in a movie unless they are intentional? Normally a decent make-up job would cover them up. He even filmed the movie in his hometown of Athens, Georgia. He wanted it to have that suburban, smaller town feel. Even the sex scene has the awkward feel to it like it would it real life.

I pretty sure that anytime Kyle Chandler pops up in a movie it elevates the movie even more. Even if the movie is already great or he has a bit part, the movie is even better after he graces the screen. Chandler grows some scruff and shaggy hair to play the deadbeat dad to Miles Teller's character. He does not have a lot of screen time, but it is a far different character for him than say Coach Taylor on "Friday Night Lights". I cannot forget to mention that the fantastic Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Sutter's mom. Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller shine with every moment they are on-screen. You will recognize her from The Descendants and him from the Footloose remake and Rabbit Hole. There is such an easy flow and natural chemistry between the two of them. The dialogue and sparks seemed to flow so effortlessly I often wonder how much of it was improvised between them or if they stuck pretty closely to the script. I look forward to their future projects. Woodley has quite a bit on her plate right now, and both of them will be appearing in this spring's Divergent.

When I was a teen, I had movies like American Pie, 10 Things I Hate About You, She's All That, and Varsity Blues as the teen movies of my generation. I really enjoyed three of those movies, but they were never like the high school kids and experiences I knew. The Spectacular Now reminds me of last year's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I absolutely loved and adored. Maybe we are reaching a new era of the teen/coming of age/growing into adulthood type movies. Movies with characters that resemble people from your own life. These stories are not centered around the dopey football players, bimbo prom queens, or mean girls nor is it set in some rich California high school. This is one of this little gems of the summer than can easily get overlooked by far too many stupid blockbusters that can clutter up the theaters. Lucky for us, it has fought it's way through and has had a lasting impression on its audience. Director: James Ponsoldt