Thursday, December 5, 2013

Delivery Man

Family Values
By Jan McClure

Movie Review of
Delivery Man
Director:  Ken Scott
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Britt Robertson
 

I wanted to see this film to find out how the secular world portrays the possible scenario of a man fathering 533 children through sperm donations.  My curiosity on this subject was heightened when I taught John Paul II’s Theology of the Body classes at our parish and discovered, to my surprise, how many devoted Catholics do not know the teachings of the Church about artificial insemination. But I didn’t really know them either until I received training for this class. 

The Catholic Church teaches that some “reproductive technologies” are not morally legitimate solutions for problems of infertility.  They in fact violate the integrity of the procreative and unitive aspect of the marital relationship.  (More information on the subject can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2376-2377.)

Although this movie doesn’t discuss the Catholic view on artificial insemination, it does discuss the moral questions of what is a father, what rights children have, and what legal protection sperm donors have.  These are all questions that spawned from scientific discoveries.  Fortunately, our Church explains the moral ramifications and also answers many other moral questions. 

The movie portrays David Wozniak (played by Vince Vaughn) as an unsuccessful, unfocussed, unreliable, and unmarried bachelor who has now joined the family business as a delivery man.  Twenty years prior, in order to raise some money, he donated his sperm 693 times under the name of Starbuck.  He now has 533 children for whom he is the biological father, and 142 of them are seeking legal help to learn his identity. 

David’s best friend, Brett (played by Chris Pratt) is a stay-at-home dad and an out-of-practice lawyer. Against Brett’s legal advice, David sneaks a peak at the profile of one of the children he fathered. He then decides to meet him incognito and discovers that he wants to meet his other children. Soon he realizes that they have needs, and he becomes like a guardian angel for them. 

After meeting several of his kids, David tells Brett, that he wants order in his life and that this is providing it.  Brett tells David that 142 kids is not order!  The movie makes a subliminal point that family life is the natural order of things, and this is what our Catholic Faith teaches!  Just as in life, having children is part of God’s plan for those that have entered into the vocation of marriage. Bringing children into this world provides the us with the opportunity to learn to love more fully, to making sacrifices, and to mature. This is exactly what happens to David. 

There are numerous subplots in this film. One subplot is David’s pregnant girlfriend, Emma (played by Cobie Smulders), and how their relationship is affected. At first, she finds him irresponsible and not fit to be a father, but this changes as he learns what being a father really means. The film continues to make good points about the importance of family, the different types of families, and about family relationships. The virtue of generosity is also a theme throughout the movie. 

The movie was a lot funnier and more emotional than I expected.  I think it would be appropriate for older children.  The subject matter of this movie allows us to have non-threatening discussions regarding what the Church teaches. 


 
Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (and we hope you will post a comment below!):
  1. Why is it wrong for a married couple to use artificial insemination to make babies?
  2. If we do things in God’s natural order, how will our lives be better?
  3. What does being a father mean?
  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your review. I was shocked and disappointed when my husband agreed that our 14 year old daughter could go to the movie. Now that I read your review, I understand that it can be a teaching moment.

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