Starbuck Movie Review
By taking a warm, witty approach to a rather outrageous situation, Canadian filmmaker Ken Scott helps us see past the plot holes to the underlying emotional resonance. And the result is a startlingly engaging comedy that not only keeps us laughing but also gets us thinking about what parenthood really means.
The story centres on an irresponsible Montreal butcher, David (Huard), who works for his dad (Ovadis) and does as little work as he can. His pregnant cop girlfriend (LeBreton) has finally had enough of this and tells him she wants to raise their child on her own. Then he discovers that after donating sperm nearly 20 years earlier, he has fathered 533 children, and 142 of them have filed a lawsuit to discover the identity of their donor "Starbuck". With a lawyer friend (Bertrand) fighting to protect his anonymity, David decides to find out more about these young people, working his way into their lives as a kind of guardian angel. Which of course sparks a sense of paternal responsibility.
The script focusses on human interaction rather than trying to make the premise believable. There's no mention that these young people actually have families of their own (one reference to "adoptive" parents is actually offensive). And the events in which David gets involved in the lives of his "children" aren't entirely plausible. But Huard gives David a scruffy charm that's infectious: we can understand why these strangers warm to him. And even as the script throws all kinds of obstacles in his way (including the global press getting hold of the story), we know he'll manage to make it through and probably triumph in the process.
Less successful is an irrelevant plot involving loan sharks who are after David for unpaid debts, although this sets up the film's most warmly emotional scene, between Huard and Ovadis. And along the way there's an amusing and enjoyable sense of camaraderie between all of Starbuck's kids that draws us in and makes us wish that either we were part of this kind of community or that we had perhaps banked a lot of sperm two decades ago.