‘Starbuck’, a big-hearted French Canadian comedy that has nothing to do with coffee and everything to do with paternity, has already been remade for the mass (English-speaking) market. Come this fall, we’ll be able to see Vince Vaughn in ‘Delivery Man’ — the tale of a former sperm donor who discovers, a couple of decades later, that he is the biological father of 533 children, 143 of whom now wish to know his identity.
I’m not sure if Ken Scott, the writer and director of ‘Starbuck’, has changed the head count for the remake that he’s remade himself, but that’s the gist: Never mind high concept, this is high conception.
And speaking of high, David Wozniak (Patrick Huard), who took the nom de sperm Starbuck when he was a young lad living next to a Montreal fertility clinic and in need of cash, has been trying to grow pot in his apartment. He’s not very good at that, or very good at relationships, or his job — driving the delivery truck for his father’s butcher shop. In short, he’s a screw-up.
And then, scores of his genetic offspring file a lawsuit to find out who their biological dad is. And he has to decide whether to fight to maintain his anonymity, or reveal himself. Out of curiosity, he starts stalking several of his brood (yes, he has been handed their dossiers).
There’s a soccer star, a junkie, a street musician, a lifeguard, a severely disabled young man, a barista who wants to act. Then there’s David’s own on-again/off-again girlfriend, Valerie (Julie LeBreton), who announces that she’s pregnant. Talk about prolific.
Grounded by Huard’s shaggy and affable performance, and with a screenplay that’s smart enough to steer clear of schmaltz for as long as humanly possible (yes, the hordes of half-siblings bond), ‘Starbuck’ is that rare beast: a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good. Go forth and multiply.
Cast: Patrick Martin; Marc Bélanger; Dominic Philie; David Michael.
Writer-director: Ken Scott.
An eOne Entertainment release. Running time: 109 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Vulgar language, sexual situations, drug use. In Miami-Dade only: Coral Gables Art Cinema, Regal South Beach.