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Movie review: ‘Starbuck’

Posted 6:09am on Friday, Apr. 26, 2013

R (sexual content, strong language, drug material); 109 min.

Starbuck is a big, fat French Canadian hug of a movie, a sperm-donations-gone-wrong farce that manages the occasional belly laugh, but also offers moving takes on parenthood, family and what it means to grow up.

David Wozniak (Patrick Huard) is the black sheep in his Montreal family, a 30-something slacker who can’t even manage the easiest job for the family’s butcher shop, driving the delivery truck.

He’s in hock to loan sharks. His idea for making extra cash is setting up a pot-growing operation in his apartment. And when his girlfriend (Julie LeBreton) tells him she’s pregnant, that’s her brush-off line. She doesn’t want their baby’s father to be a lout “who doesn’t have a life.”

David promises to mend his ways. But that promise is made before he’s served with legal papers. There was a screw-up at the sperm bank he used to frequent for extra cash. Somehow, 533 babies were born with his genes, and now, years later, they’re suing to find out who their “father” is, a donor who went by the name “Starbuck.”

David doesn’t tell his girlfriend or his family. And when he’s given the profiles of the people suing to find his identity, he doesn’t tell his offspring, either. But he starts checking them out. One’s a rising soccer star. Great! The rest?

There’s a junkie, a bartender who wants to be an actor, a lifeguard, a bag boy at a supermarket, an impoverished busker singing in subway stations.

Starbuck is a smidge too cute and a bit too long, but Huard and director Ken Scott make this comical journey a trip from indifference to kindness, incompetence to responsibility — a most rewarding reinvention of what “family” can mean.

In French and English with English subtitles

Exclusive: Landmark Magnolia, Dallas; Cinemark West Plano

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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