Delivery is ostensibly a documentary about a young man coming into adulthood terrified of not trying new things before he has his first child, but it’s also a film about the cycle of birth and death and a look at what it takes to be a stand-up comedian. It’s as disjointed and all over the place as that description sounds, but there’s a decidedly amiable quality to it that makes it get by. And in the end, since the main overarching message of the film seems to be about overcoming fears and getting through another day when life becomes more and more complicated, that makes Mark Meyers other sloppy tendencies endearing. It’s a film about people who just want to be liked, and the film adequately reflects that sentiment.
An entertainment industry professional already the married 31-year old Myers wants always wanted to become a dad and to become a filmmaker. When he finds out his wife, Erin, is pregnant, he races a film into production with several of his friends based on a passing, floating observation that they should all try their hand at stand-up comedy. Mark isn’t particularly funny on his own – something that numerous comics that he interviews for the film are quick to point out – but he has the desire to try something different if it helps the film. Shane is a naturally funny guy, but probably isn’t very funny outside of party situations. Sean has recently found out that his father has terminal cancer, and his stage presence seems to be a bit of a concern. Then there’s Bert, a considerably older Dutch man who’s friends with Shane, who has a seemingly effortless delivery and no shortage of real life material to pull from.
There’s a lot going on in the world of Myers and his friends, but not all of it is particularly necessary or interesting, leading to a film that has some very obvious bloating problems. Mark and Sean have interesting stories worth following, and Bert makes for some great comedic relief, but Shane doesn’t really add much. (Really, the only thing Shane is trying to do in life is lose some weight, which wisely gets forgotten about around the halfway mark.) Myers also has little concept of pacing, often spending too long on the personal stories or on talking heads musing on the minutiae of stand-up comedy, leading to moments where it’s easy to forget what the point of the film actually is. The film also grinds to a halt around the time the guys have to actually take the stage at Yuk-Yuk’s amateur night. We don’t really need to see the entire sets from each of the four guys (totally almost 20 minutes of screen time), but Myers feels the need to use all the footage he possibly can.
But despite all of that, Myers is getting more than a few things right here. He’s pretty upfront about being a nervous wreck with a baby on the way and about being a somewhat novice filmmaker. He takes it in stride when some of his interview subjects take swipes at his interviewing ability (most notably a brusque Marc Maron and especially an invaluable, but respectful takedown from Bobby Slayton). When he can’t get an interview with Jerry Seinfeld, he just goes to one of his shows to say what he learned, anyway. He even makes light of the fact that he leans a bit too heavily on montages to show the passage of time, which actually works here except for a sped up trip to Montreal with the boys for Just for Laughs that feels uncomfortably like one of those “This is Bud Light Living” commercials. He’s a likable guy who comes across as being properly confused, and he has a film that perfectly matches his mind state. He’s all over the place, and so is the film.
In that respect, Delivery becomes a film that works almost inexplicably because of its own faults. Myers never hides the fact that everything he’s doing at this point in his life is a learning experience, and it’s that refreshing bit of honesty that gets the production by. It’s a deeply personal, fully packed story made by someone desperately afraid of letting go of things. That doesn’t necessarily make it a great movie and its decidedly made-for-TV aesthetic doesn’t necessarily do any favours, but it’s the equivalent of not bombing at amateur night. Which, come to think of it, is also another one of the film’s goals.