Before & After: Starbuck vs Delivery Man

I am a huge film fanatic and love all kinds of cinema. From foreign films to intense thrillers. Dramas to indie flicks. As much as I love cinema, there are some films I can often do without:

  • Chick flicks (ugh)
  • American remakes of foreign films (double ugh!)

During the summer I saw the trailer for the Vince Vaughn film Delivery Man that comes to theaters November 22. This film is about a lovable underachiever named David who finds out that he has fathered 533 children via anonymous sperm donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now 142 of those kids have filed a lawsuit to reveal David’s true identity. Check out the trailer below:

Okay, the trailer looks interesting, right? But what was most interesting to me was when I discovered that this film is actually a remake of a 2011 French-Canadian film called Starbuck. See the trailer for that film here:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very similar. Okay, more than similar- freaking identical. Before you freak, let me point out that the same writer and director is behind both films: Ken Scott. Starbuck is Scott’s 2nd films as director while Delivery Man is Scott’s 3rd turn behind the camera.

I just finished watching Starbuck and was so charmed by the movie. It had great moments of humor and humanity. As a viewer I was immediately sympathetic to David’s honest attempt to do the right thing. I actually teared up a few times during the film!

Here are my concerns about the remake:

  1. Yikes! Filmmakers are doing the remake only 2 years after the original film. I appreciate the fact that the same writer and director is involved in both projects, but also know that the timing is reflective of a money grab for the studio.
  2. Casting Vince Vaughn in the lead. Hold up- before you get mad at me, let me say that I love Vince Vaughn. But I view his humor as more over the top and the original film’s comedy was more subtle. I hope to be pleasantly proven wrong. After all, I recall Bill Murray before and after the film Lost in Translation. So maybe Vince has the ability to rein in the humor.
  3. I do have an ongoing rant on American remakes of foreign films. Often the American versions dumb down the material and go for the easy laugh in order to reach a wider audience. But I think this also lies with which side one’s humor tends to lean. Mine tends to lean to foreign.

My verdict? I am curious about how the new film will turn out. I don’t think it will be worth spending $10+ to go see in theaters, but I might Netflix it. But then again, I just saw the original film and thought it was delightful. The original film was a box office success internationally and also had great reviews when screened at US film festivals. Will the remake be essentially the same film but without subtitles? Based on the trailer alone, I think the answer is yes. How does that saying go? If it ain’t broke…

If you’ve seen Starbuck, I’d like to know your thoughts on the film and if you plan to see the remake this fall. I’d also love to know your thoughts on American remakes of foreign films. The original film Starbuck is available to watch via Netflix mail.




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