I have nothing against flabby men. I've got a bit of it goin on myself and they don't call them love handles for nothing. Something to grab onto can be, as Mary Poppins once said, practically perfect in every way. But at the end of Delivery Man when Vince Vaughan tells Cobie Smulders that he too will get a bit flabby if she remains "flabby" - well, it is rather hard to stomach coming from a somewhat beefy hot forty something man and being imposed upon the body of a gorgeous thirty something woman. But he is well intentioned and they do have to wrap it all up with a good conflicted chuckle. And if that's not enough maddening heteronormative foreplay, they're also both white. But this is all part and parcel of the latest little dramedy starring Vaughan and an impressive cast of hundreds.
The basic premise of the film has Vaughan startled and angst ridden by the fact that he unknowingly fathered over five hundred children when he was quite young due to the strategies of a very busy sperm donor clinic. And now a whole bunch of them want to know who he is. Sentimentality, romance, even a faint nod to mutli-culturalism and the rights of adopted children and their birth parents are made throughout this hilarious and terrifying 105 minute tour of explosive heterosexual cum-araderie. But at the end of the day, what's it all about Alfie? What is this film trying to say? The blank narrative canvas of any given movie, as cinematic harbinger of prophetic messages, can make a good little film into a great big weird blockbuster. We can paint our own desires onto the flickering canvas and leave fulfilled, unchallenged, and secure in our knowledge of the universe and how we populate, over-populate, and basically flood the earth with way too many human bodies.
Throughout the film I kept wondering if Delivery Man was a mixed critique of over population or an ad for fertility and the joys of family life. Vaughan does at one point call childbirth and familial fare the greatest thing one can ever experience in a single lifetime. I'm a bitter old queen and for me family life means more than two people sitting at the bar at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I am moved to tears in family films and I did weepily watch the last hour of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner on TCM before going out to catch a five dollar tuesday night showing of Vince Vaughan's strange little cumedy. Spencer Tracy and Beah Richards reminded me of the poignant yet problematic race politics of a seminal Hollywood flick that I still love to be bewitiched, baffled, and bewildered by. As the lounge singer croons part way through this late Hepburn/Tracy classic, "that's the story of, that's the glory of love." In Delivery Man love is a four letter word - times five hundred. In both DM and GWCTD I laughed, I cried, I felt appropriately hostile toward the predictable Hollywood formula for an entertaining stroll through the lives of untold thousands.
In Delivery Man there's one featured gay guy in the whole crowd of kids searching for daddy, and he seems to have lots of boyfriends, something Vaughan's character is comically startled by. There is also a recovering drug addict, a struggling actor, a lifeguard, a severely mentally and physically challenged boy in a wheelchair, and a young black woman who Vaughan's character seems quirkily thrilled to be able to include in his collection of unplanned offspring. They come from all races and all walks of life, and when you see them all together at a kind of Woodstockian sibling reunion in the mountains you cannot help but wonder how much trouble they're all going to cause as they get to know each other over the next thirty years. Sounds like a sequel to me. A cast of millons. A film about how we don't have to be blood related to love each other, but in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, a film Scott Thompson once called the gay man's version of It's A Wonderful Life, "we are Blanche, we are!!!!!!" We are all kin and we just have to be careful how close the bloodlines cross. Unless you're in an Oscar Wilde play, then you can marry your cousin. But I digress.
I do prefer my family drama on screen or in a soap opera that I have watched semi-faithfully for forty years, or a madcap comedy starring just about anybody I find hot - and I do happen to find just about anybody hot. It is just so nice to be able to admire the bodies of men and women in whacky turmoil and trying to sort it all out when you don't have to really take part yourself. Too much family drama in real life leads to trauma, heartache, and an endless search for an affordable therapist. Not to mention alcoholism, dysfunction, and some profoundly great parties.
So what am I saying about Delivery Man? It's fabulous. A friend recently compared it to another wondrous family drama about love loss and weaponry - Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The Brangelina family could have posed for the poster of Delivery Man. Go see it. In an attempt to include just about everything it must, by its very nature, leave so much out. But if there is one thing you cannot escape in this film it is the very obvious point that people still love to procreate, sperm donate, have families, romanticize about the joy of life, and then proceed to complain about everything they planned or didn't plan oh so well. I love complaining. It warms the cock holes of my heart.
So avid film buffs, I'm off to the bar, to see my buff, well toned kin. And the good news is, when you're tired of boozing it up with 'real' family, the Carlton Cinema now has a bar. You can laugh and cry and drink til your heart's content. And you can do it all by your self!