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'Delivery Man' review: Cutesy, but still genuine

Vince Vaughn in a scene from "Delivery Man."

Vince Vaughn in a scene from "Delivery Man." Credit: AP

There are big, happy families, and then there is the humongous, joyous family of David Wozniak, the hero of "Delivery Man." It's the story of an amiable underachiever who discovers his anonymous sperm-bank donations have resulted in 533 children, 142 of whom are now suing to learn his identity. If your first, horrified thought is "child support," then you're probably too cynical to enjoy this overly sweet but heart-tugging comedy.

"Delivery Man" is writer-director Ken Scott's remake of his French Canadian comedy "Starbuck" (named after a famously studly Ontario bull), which sneaked into U.S. theaters earlier this year. The Hollywood version features tweaks big and small -- lead actor Vince Vaughn replaces Patrick Huard, while Brooklyn replaces Montreal -- but the story and subplots remain the same. David still drives a truck for the family meatpacking business (his Polish dad is played by a delightful Andrzej Blumenfeld), and he still has a pregnant girlfriend, Emma (Cobie Smulders), who doesn't consider him father material. Ah, if only she knew.

Determined to prove her wrong, David begins devoting time to his offspring, but without revealing his identity. This seems unwise to David's lawyer friend, Brett (Chris Pratt), who barks out the unusual advice, "Stop seeing your kids!" David, however, can't resist touching the lives of aspiring actor Josh (Jack Reynor), emotionally needy Viggo (Adam Chanler-Berat) and drug-addicted Kristen (Britt Robertson). David also has a well-adjusted gay son, whom the film treats rather gingerly: He's a montage, never a character.

One drop of dramatic rain in all the sunshine is Ryan (Sébastien René, reprising his role), who is in a wheelchair and unable to communicate. Upon seeing him, David nearly flees -- a base instinct, but a believable one. As it turns out, this particular father-son relationship, though only briefly explored, says more about David than any other.

It's all very slick and predictable, but Vaughn's charm is still potent and the overall surplus of heart is hard to resist. Essentially, "Delivery Man" is one very, very large group hug.

PLOT An overgrown underachiever discovers his sperm bank donations have produced 533 children.

RATING PG-13 (thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language)

CAST Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders


BOTTOM LINE An awfully cutesy-wutesy comedy, but its familial sentiments feel genuine and Vaughn's charm is still potent.

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