Vince Vaughn - Delivery Man: Do remakes really work?
On this evidence, not really
Barely two years after the French-language Canadian comedy Starbuck became a sleeper hit, writer-director Ken Scott was hired by Hollywood to shoot an American remake called Delivery Man.
Delivery Man hasn't proved to be Vince Vaughn's finest hour
By all appearances, he didn't bother rewriting the script at all, merely shifting the action from Montreal to New York and casting Vince Vaughn in the lead role as a man who discovers that he has more than 500 children as a result of youthful sperm donation.
While Starbuck benefited from generous reviews across the board, Delivery Man has had almost universal shrugs of indifference, even though it's essentially the same movie: thoroughly entertaining with some dodgy subplots and rather offensive touches (such as ignoring the fact that Starbuck's children have actual families of their own).
And yet Starbuck gets a 65% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes, while Delivery Man earns 39%. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said, “Vince Vaughn autopilots his way through this lame, contrived and strangely depressing high-concept comedy,” while Nigel Andrews of the Financial Times remarks: “A one-man show of ill-firing jokes, fizzling double takes and misty-eyed attempts at sentimental wrap-up.”
But it's at the box office that the remake really suffers. The original was made on a shoestring so couldn't help but make a profit. But Delivery Man cost an estimated $26 million to make and only earned $28 million at the US box office, which won't even pay the bills once you include advertising budgets. As the film opens this week across Europe and South America, the producers will be hoping to at least break even.