The Films of Ken Scott
Starbuck (November 22/11)
Armed with an irresistibly high-concept storyline, Starbuck generally comes off as a perfectly watchable yet decidedly uneven comedy/drama that benefits from Patrick Huard's consistently engrossing performance. The film follows Huard's David Wozniak, an affable slacker, as he learns that his donated sperm was used to father 533 children in the early 1990s, with the revelation inevitably forcing David to clean up his act and face his responsibilities. It's an off-kilter premise that's employed to entertaining effect by director Ken Scott, as the filmmaker does a superb job of immediately luring the viewer into the proceedings - with Huard's striking work certainly playing an instrumental role in the movie's early success. There's subsequently little doubt that Starbuck is at its best when focused on David's ongoing dealings with his newfound children, with the episodic midsection - eg David helps his daughter get clean, David walks his drunk son home, etc, etc - far more engaging and intriguing than one might have necessarily anticipated. It's just as clear, however, that the movie's languid pace becomes more and more problematic as time progresses, with the padded-out running time ensuring that the narrative begins to noticeably run out of steam as it passes the one hour mark - which is a shame, really, given that Scott has peppered the latter half of the proceedings with a number of unexpectedly poignant moments (eg David's encounters with his mentally-handicapped son). The end result is an unexpectedly conventional effort that does, generally speaking, manage to hold the viewer's interest from start to finish, although it's clear that the movie is, for the most part, simply unable to raise itself to the level of Huard's captivating turn as the title character.
Ken Scott's English-language remake of 2011's French-Canadian Starbuck (which he also cowrote and directed), Delivery Man follows affable slacker David (Vince Vaughn) as he learns that his sperm donations were used to father 533 children over a three-year period - with the movie subsequently detailing the character's efforts at getting to know a small handful of his newly-found offspring. It's clear immediately that Delivery Man benefits substantially from star Vaughn's impressively (and surprisingly) subdued performance, as the actor does a superb job of elevating Scott's entertaining but unspectacular screenplay on a fairly consistent basis - with, likewise, the efforts of a talented supporting cast, which includes Bobby Moynihan, Chris Pratt, and Jack Reynor, perpetuating the film's compulsively watchable atmosphere. Scott's conventional sensibilities ensure that Delivery Man, for the most part, unfolds exactly as the viewer might've anticipated, and yet it's impossible to deny that certain sequences pack an unpredictably palpable emotional punch - with, especially, David's dealings with a handicapped young man tugging at the heartstrings in as shameless (and undeniably affecting) a manner as one could have envisioned. It's worth noting, however, that the movie does stumble in the buildup to its final stretch, as Scott suffuses the narrative with a number of palpably needless elements designed to pad out the running time - with, for example, the subplots devoted to David's impending court case and the character's dealings with an upset bookie testing the viewer's patience on an increasingly frequent basis. There's little doubt that the heartwarming climax ultimately confirms Delivery Man's place as a better-than-average mainstream comedy, with the film actually improving upon its solid predecessor in most respects and proving that Vaughn, when he wants to, can be quite a charming and likeable leading man.