Movie Review: Starbuck

By Stephen Rebello

<p><i>Starbuck</i> is a French-Canadian crowd-pleaser about a sperm donor in the whose 142 of the astonishing 533 kids he fathered, wants to meet him.<br></p>

Director: Ken Scott

Rating: R

Stars: Patrick Huard, Julie LeBreton, Antoine Bertrand

Starbuck is a French-Canadian crowd-pleaser starring Patrick Huard as a charming, 40-ish meat delivery man and perpetual screwup whose past as a sperm donor in the 1980s catches up with him when 142 of the astonishing 533 kids he fathered file a class action suit to learn the identity of their incredibly fertile donor, code name “Starbuck.”

Ken Scott directed the good-natured, plot hole–ridden movie from a funny, big-hearted script he cowrote with Martin Petit. We follow the commitment-phobic hero, who is also about to become a dad with his implausibly long suffering cop girlfriend (Julie LeBreton), as he becomes secretly and not-so-secretly involved in the lives of his progeny, including a lifeguard, an emo misfit, a heroin addict, an aspiring actor, a street busker and a kid institutionalized with cerebral palsy. Meanwhile, his best friend, a lawyer and permanently sleep deprived dad of four (a very funny Antoine Bertrand), keeps warning him never to marry or reproduce again, while being eager to take on his legal battles.

The movie’s complications and more serious implications are completely smoothed over. Don’t any of these 20-somethings, “conceived in a little cup” as the dialogue says, despise their “father,” even when he’s playing guardian angel? Aren’t any of them creeped out by his stalking them in his van or showing up in their apartments? Where are their parents and what do they think of all this group adoration of a messed-up guy? While you’re watching the movie, some, but not all, of these questions (and many, many more) get steamrolled by Huard’s outsized galoot charm and comic chops in the lead role. His transition from selfish to selfless family man may be predictable, but the actor makes it pretty damn irresistible. We'll see whether Vince Vaughn can possibly deliver the goods—let alone gloss over the queasier stuff—so well in the Hollywood remake due in October, The Delivery Man. 


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