Starbuck (2011) by Ken Scott
The main character David Wozniak is a perpetual adolescent who discovers that, as a sperm donor, he has fathered 533 children.
David, a deliveryman for a butcher shop, is being pursued by thugs because he owes them money. Next, he is advised that 142 of his offspring are trying to force the fertility clinic to reveal the true identity of “Starbuck”, the pseudonym he used when donating sperm. In addition, his girlfriend Valérie is pregnant with his child but does not feel that he is mature enough to be a father.
The film’s title refers to a Canadian Holstein bull who produced hundreds of thousands of progeny by artificial insemination in the 1980s and 1990s.
The premise is farcical enough to make for a good comedy, but sadly Starbuck is not as funny as it should have been. There’s one scene in particular that infuriated me: it involved sleepwalking children and a sand box, it had great dialogue coupled with great situation comedy — that scene was packed with great comedy elements, on paper it was hilarious and sweet at the same time, and it should have been the funniest thing ever… Instead it fell flat on its ass, partly because it wasn’t choreographed properly and partly because of some terribly dull acting from Antoine Bertrand (Bertrand was bad throughout the film, which was a bit of a problem considering that he was the one delivering most of the film’s punch lines).
In addition of not being as funny as it could have been, the film is way too sentimental for my taste.
That said, Starbuck has a couple of things going for it: a warm and funny performance by Patrick Huard, who stars as David, and the fact that everyone speaks with a thick French Canadian accent (so thick in fact that some of the dialogue had to be subtitled for the French audience), which in itself is an endless source of comedy.
And now I’m going to say something that I thought I’d never say about any film: I’m actually looking forward to the Hollywood remake. I’m convinced they’ll do the script justice and inject some real humor in it (because they’re pros)… They’ve got Vince Vaughn in the bag for the title role and that’s already a great start.
[Seen @ Gaumont Opéra, Paris, 02 August 2012]