Film Review: ‘Starbuck’

Patrick Huard (far right) plays a serial sperm donor who's fathered 533 children (some of them pictured) in "Starbuck," in theaters now. CREDIT: Entertainment One Films US
Patrick Huard (far right) plays a serial sperm donor who’s fathered 533 children (some of them pictured) in “Starbuck,” in theaters now. Credit: Entertainment One Films US

‘Starbuck’
Director: Ken Scott
Stars: Patrick Huard, Julie LeBreton, Antoine Betrand
Rating: R
3 Globes

It is absolutely overstating it to say that this Canadian comedy about a beleaguered sperm donor is the “feel good” film of the year. But it is no exaggeration to say that this French-language import is closer in tone to the touching “The Kids are All Right” than it is to Jay Chandrasekhar’s crude farce “The Babymakers.” “Starbuck” is the pseudonym David (Patrick Huard) used when he earned considerable money — for a good cause — by making deposits to a cryobank years ago. But currently, there is a situation stemming from all of the sperm he donated: Of the 533 children David “fathered,” 142 of them have launched a class action lawsuit asking him to reveal his identity.

Yet David is reluctant to expose himself, especially given the backlash attitudes expressed by friends, family members, the media and even perfect strangers regarding his activities. Much of “Starbuck” concerns this not-quite-lovable loser trying to secretly meet the kids he spawned. Wisely, the film’s gentle humor stems less from the comic potential of David meddling in his kids’ lives and more from folks like his best friend and father of four (Antoine Bertrand) advising him never to reproduce. Of course, David’s girlfriend Valerie (Julie LeBreton) is pregnant and pressuring him to man up and show he has what it takes to be a dad.


Whereas David has long made a series of bad decisions, he thinks he can do some good — and more importantly, find meaning and purpose in his life — by assisting his children guardian angel style. Unfortunately, “Starbuck” wears such noble intentions on its sleeve when David’s bonding with his disabled son gets saccharine, or his interactions with his addicted daughter gloss over deeper social issues about parenting. That said, these vignettes do emphasize the film’s worthy point of redefining family.

If “Starbuck” has a far-fetched comic premise, it succeeds because Patrick Huard is amusing in the title role. He generates many smiles with his hangdog expressions, exaggerated body language, and deft comic timing — just marvel as he pulls a ticket off a windshield with his teeth. David grows up because he suddenly feels responsibility to others, and Huard makes his journey both credible and satisfying. Even if “Starbuck” is contrived, it is never tasteless. May the American remake — with Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt, due later this year — be so refined.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.