The opening scene of Starbuck is of a young man at a sperm bank, paging through magazines that are usually wrapped in black plastic, at the top of the magazine rack in the dairy. He proceeds to make his deposit into a cup, while I tried to disappear into my chair with nervous fits of laughter. I may be nearing 30, but my maturity level regularly drops below freezing and I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty chilly film.
Starbuck is a French-Canadian film about a David Wozniak (Patrick Huard), a 42 year old meat packer, with an $80,000 debt, a pregnant girlfriend (Julie LeBreton) – who’s about to break up with him – and unbeknown to him, 533 adult children.
David, who went by name Starbuck after a particularly fertile bull, was a regular donor at the local sperm bank: Cue opening scene. Twenty years later, a lawyer appears in his kitchen, letting him know that 142 of his 533 children want to meet their father. This sets the scene for an equally bizarre film with an outlandish, but intriguing, premise.
David hires his lawyer friend (Antoine Bertrand) to help him keep his identity a secret, while at the same time slowly begins to anonymously meet his children, which starts to create a few grey areas in his thinking – Could he use this as a opportunity to sort out his life and become a responsible father, or could he sue the sperm bank to repay his debts?
It’s quite difficult to recommend Starbuck on the basis of other films, because it has a uniquely Quebec-ian feel about it, but the closest I can think of is Step Brothers, Blades of Glory, Anchor Man or any other Will Ferrel film. Ironically, this storyline seems a little less far-fetched than Ferell’s films, as a documentary has recently been made about a man who has fathered between 500 and 1,000 children!
Huard is Starbuck down to a tee. His character is believable, and you end up wanting the best for him, despite his many shortcomings and wrong decisions. I am not a father – nor will I ever be as I’m a female – but I have a feeling that many men can relate to David’s feelings towards fatherhood. The soundtrack was outstanding, and in fact was one of the first things I commented on when I left the theater. As of yet, I haven’t found it, but maybe I’m googling in the wrong language.
Despite my maturity, I really enjoyed Starbuck’s awkwardness, smart humour and unexpected ‘ahhh’ moments. There are many relatable, tender moments that made it feel far more personal, even if it may fall under absurd-situation-that-would-never-happen-to-you.
Reviewed by: Nerice
Releases Thursday 3rd May, 2012.