French Language with English Subtitles
42 year old David Wozniak’s life is going nowhere with his inability to deliver meat on time to the clients for his father’s butchers business, not to mention his $80,000 worth of debt and subsequent suprise visits from angry loanshark heavies. In a bid to raise cash, David cultivated a weed farm in his apartment, something which wouldn’t go down well with his on/off relationship with policewoman, Valerie. When she breaks the news to him that she’s pregnant with his child, he’s overjoyed with excitement but a mystery intruder in his apartment is about to bring his insular world shattering down with a revelation about his past. 20 years previously, David donated his sperm to a clinic over a period of 24 months under the pseudonym Starbuck and is informed that, through his sperm donation, he has fathered 533 children, with 142 persuing a lawsuit to reveal the identity of their biological father. With the story gaining media attention, David struggles to lead a normal life, to satisfy the requests of the mother of his unborn child and to protect his identity from the inquisitive offspring that he has acquired and everyone around him.
With the opening scene involving a young David Wozniak perusing the pages of porn magazines whilst beating the bishop, you just know this is going to be a fun film that has both a serious edge as well as an immensely fun one too. The character of David is quickly introduced to the viewer by a collection of scenes depicting how messy and unorganised this man lives, with even his own family struggling with his inability to do a simple task, for example buying football shirts, without something going wrong. Even his on/off girlfriend Valerie (Julie LeBreton), who looks a lot like Penny from LOST, refuses to allow David to be a fully involved father to her unborn child unless he steps up to the mark, without fail.
The film is fast paced in it’s storytelling, with many a funny scene involving David and the mishaps he gets into, as well as discussions regarding children and ‘getting it up’ with his best friend and lawyer (played by Antoine Bertrand). With news of the vast amount of children his sperm has produced, David is in a state of shock but is intrigued after he receives a file with notes of all 142 of his biological children who have filed the lawsuit against his anonymity. With the notes, David decides to actively seek out his offspring without divulging his true indentity, despite pleas from his friend. The lives David stumbles upon truly humbles him. Whilst some have flourished (professional footballer), others have struggled (junkie), but all of the children have an impact upon David, who torments himself with the notion of revealing all.
Lead actor Patrick Huard is outstanding as the spunky Starbuck, David Wozniak, and his ability to play both serious and humourous with utter realism is a wonder to behold. I believed in this man’s plight and troubles, even though it felt a little too comical at the beginning. Huard proves he has the acting chops for both drama and comedy, which STARBUCK brilliantly blends the two. When not playing the hapless clown in certain scenes, Huard’s Wozniak comes across as sensitive and caring, especially when meeting with his biological children, in particular his disabled son Raphael.
STARBUCK is a heartwarming film that has just the right amount of comedy injected into it. Even with it’s odd sexual references, I’d happily show this to my parents, hell, even my grandmother! Director Ken Scott has artistically created an intelligent, witty movie that can be enjoyed by all adults, regardless of genre preference. Whether the same can be said about the American remake which is to be released later this year, retitled The Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn as the potent protaganist David, is certainly yet to be seen. With Scott returning to the director’s chair for the remake, maybe The Delivery Man can be saved from the crude comedy that Vaughn stars so often in.
Needless to say, the one and only STARBUCK I can heartily recommend is this French-Canadian effort with the charming and entertaining Patrick Huard. You will not be disappointed.