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My friends and I went to the theater to see another movie tonight but
arrived too late, so on a whim we decided to check out Starbuck and it
was actually so good.
It was so funny, my friends and I were cracking up. It's also very character driven and there are a ton of lovely moments that make you love the characters as they struggle to make decisions. Starbuck is totally heart warming as you start to see the altruistic spirit rise from his funny pathetic starting point.
I can't wait to recommend it to my friends and family, so that's why i am writing this review at one in the morning... so... check it out.
David Wozniack has quite the problem. As a man who doesn't have many
responsibilities aside from driving his dad's delivery truck for the
butcher shop, he's the father of 533 children. He's got commitment
issues with his girlfriend, and gets ragged on for not being dependable
enough. So how did this happen?
All the children were conceived thanks to his donations to the fertility clinic, registered under 'Starbuck' - and it's twenty years later - 142 of the kids want to know his identity. Class action lawsuit time!
I heard about this premise from a friend, and it sounded absolutely hilarious. What would anyone even do in this situation? It's absurd! I went in, expecting plenty of laughs, but walked out with a genuine love for this film. It's a wonderful surprise. What could have been a mere gimmick for comedy turned out to be a starting point for something much more. When we first see David, he isn't doing well. Nothing is expected of him, he seems to be a disappointment with everyone he knows, except for his best friend, and the news of this children can only be a headache. However, he decides to take a more active approach and gets to know his children, as scary as the idea seems. One step at a time, one child at a time. The result is an effective mix of silly and sweet, some great lines, and genuine emotion.
I don't think this film will get a wide a distribution as it deserves, which is a real shame. I suspect the fact that it being in French will deter some audience members from the film. Personally, I saw it with subs and it wasn't hard to follow. It's well worth the effort to do a bit of reading. Starbuck has piqued my interest to see more Canadian films in hopes of more gems like this one. All I can do is spread the word, and hopefully the word of mouth will help it along. This film is a crowd-pleaser and I was caught between laughing and crying during some parts, I can't praise it enough. Give it a chance if it happens to be playing your local theatre - it might just blow you away!
A very refreshing film. I honestly wouldn't mind seeing it again in theatres.
I liked "Starbuck" very much. My main advice would be to watch it before the American version is out. It's not that I don't believe in Hollywood, but I don't. This movie is heartwarming, the characters are lovable and the story is fairly original. It has moments which will make you laugh, but its true strength is in those moments which will make you smile. The acting is good, the music is very suitable and the director has managed to produce a sotry which dodges clichés. "Starbuck"is a movie which would make you feel better if you are in a bad mood, and even if you are feeling good it would elevate your spirit even more. It is not a movie to change your view on life or something, but you'll have a real fun watching it and that's what going to the movies is all about.
When deciding to give this movie a go, I was skeptical since I've been pretty disappointed with most films coming out of Canada, however, after watching Starbuck, it renewed my faith in Canadian Cinema. The movie is about a middle-aged man who hasn't had much luck in his life. In his 20's, he lived above a sperm clinic and was a frequent donor which comes back to haunt him 20 years later. The story revolves around the children fathered by the anonymous donor named "Starbuck" and their wish to find who the anonymous donor is. Starbuck is my favourite comedy of the year and probably one of my favourite films. The premise of the movie is very unique and heart warming and the actors are wonderfully casted. Starbuck hasn't received much press, however, word is going around and a remake is being rumored. Watch it now before someone else ruins it.
I saw this French Canadian film on a KLM flight. I have not heard of
it, and the title was not catchy, however when I read in the
information that there will be an American version to be done, I became
curious so I went on to watch it. I did not regret it.
For a movie that began with the uncomfortable scene of a guy donating sperm in a sperm bank. From such an inauspicious beginning, what unfolds is actually a heartwarming story of David Wozniak (Patrick Huard), a middle-aged man whose life of non-commitment changes radically when he discovers that he had actually fathered more than 500 kids via his multiple sperm donations done when he was a young man. When 143 of these kids file a class suit against the anonymous donor "Starbuck," will David reveal his secret identity? If he does, how will he face all of these newly-arisen paternal responsibilities?
Of course, there are scenes which may look cheesy for some, but viewed with the proper attitude without cynicism, these scenes are actually quite nice and even touching. Since David's kids are all young adults already with individual personalities and problems, his approach to each one would have to be different based on the situation each kid is in. The public controversy and discussion that arose when the news of the "Starbuck" case hit the tabloids is also very thought-provoking.
This film was an unexpected delight. It was good to know afterward that this movie actually received multiple nominations and even won awards at the Genie and various film festivals. I am glad I caught it before the American version. It would be interesting to compare the treatment of the story.
The feel-good movie is somewhat of an enigma when it comes to the end
result. Collectively, so many share the same exact elements: ample
schmaltz, the odd contrivance and an ending born straight out of a
Disney cartoon. Yet while some work remarkably well, others simply come
off as manipulative, pandering tripe. Thankfully in the case of
Starbuck, its earnest nature, winning performances and wry humour
assemble in a hugely palatable way, which helps it to become one of the
more charming films I've seen in recent memory.
The title Starbuck comes from a pseudonym used by 40-something slacker David Wozniak (Patrick Huard). However, it just so happens that this particular alias was constructed for purposes of the professional self- pleasuring variety. That is to say it's the name he put down on the paperwork at the sperm donor clinic. Years after his sordid activities, broke and expecting a child, he learns that he may in fact already have some offspring. In fact, he may have 533 spawn, 142 of whom have just filed a class action lawsuit against him to find their father's true identity. Though he sprints to his friend and lawyer Avocat (Antoine Bertrand) in an attempt to quash the suit, he foolishly peaks inside the folder containing the identity of his children and a redemptive journey begins.
Starbuck successfully encompasses a number of tropes found in films of this nature, though thanks to its unique (if silly) premise, it makes them feel new again. For instance, the "guardian angel" device where a recently deceased character rights wrongs from beyond the grave becomes David stealthily interacting with a number of his kids when they need a helping hand. Likewise, the film as a whole could be considered a romantic comedy with the brood replacing the male or female love interest that is commonly found. However, the kinks that are ultimately thrown between David revealing himself to his extended family are both more potentially life-altering and grounded in some semblance of reality.
Much of Starbuck's success can be attributed to the lead performance from Huard who strikes the perfect balance between good-natured loser, sarcastic rouge and eventually a troubled man trying to do the right thing. His delivery and mannerisms fit the somewhat sardonic material immensely well and simply put he's just damn charming. Even more cynical and ironic is the Avocat character who is the film's purest form of comic relief (not that it really needed it). Every scene with him and David works wonderfully and a final climactic scene which finds him in a moment of (short lived) triumph will have you in stitches.
Unfortunately as is the case with most schmaltzy material, Starbuck indulges in clichés, occasional bloat and contrivance. A subplot involving David owing $80,000 to some unscrupulous folks is utterly unnecessary and is resolved with very little bearing on the overarching story. The film also hammers home our protagonist's slacker status a tad too heavily early on and it's thanks mainly to Huard's talents that we believe his ultimate transformation.
Then there are his children who are comparative (and thinly written) angels when put up against their father and even those who fall into bad habits are set on the right path by their guardian by the next scene. Or perhaps I'm mistaken and a heroin addiction actually can be kicked overnight.
It's the earnest nature and winning humour that ultimately make Starbuck work though, as even when it descends into sentimentality the film keeps its wits and maintains its credibility. Take for instance a late scene where David's many offshoots show up for the birth of his baby that is to say their sister and indulge in a group hug. Cheesy to the hilt, yes, but writer-director Ken Scott has the good sense to toss in the line "that was weird" immediately following.
Those generally uninterested in a subtitled, French Canadian lark won't have long to wait as an American remake called Delivery Man has already been completed with Vince Vaughan taking on the David role and Chris Pratt that of Avocat. I actually cringe at the thought of this venture. Starbuck itself walked a thin line between charm and mauldlinism and with the removal of Huard and the French style of humour I can't see it being duplicated with much success. The only ray of hope is that Scott will return as scribe and director so perhaps he sees the potential. But I digress, and will simply say check out this original before the remake lands.
All of the sincerity on display in this comedy is certainly infectious and while not groundbreaking by any means, it's constructed with enough of an identity to stand apart. With appealing leads and some scenes that will tug at the heartstrings and poke at the tear ducts (often in a surprisingly non-manipulative manner) it's hard to imagine most audiences leaving Starbuck without a grin.
This might look like a bad moviea silly idea and a goofy promo photo. And it's in French, so American audiences south of Canada are relatively small. But it's far more genuine than it portends. It's funny and warm. It's clever. It's improbable and impossible, sure, but that's part of the joyous fantasy of this weirdly feel-good film.
The premise starts pretty simplyan eager sperm donor (for money) finds out his sperm was used a lot. And with great success. Hundreds of babies were conceived. And now a group of over a hundred have banded together as a class- action group to demand his identity be released.
Because of the suit, he finds all this out and is shocked. Then, because the court has all the plaintiffs listed in detail, he is able to find the people, one by one. And so it goes. He meets. He does good deeds. He keeps his mouth shut. And in the process he begins to see the situation from the point of view of these 20 year old kids.
In this country you could picture Ben Stiller or similar comic actor taking the role. Here it is Patrick Huard, a Canadian French-speaking actor. And it turned into a hit (the most popular film in Quebec in 2011). Huard makes his character compelling, even as all these ridiculous things are happening around him. Watch it for his performance alone.
Or watch it for the warm and fuzzy aspects that are really a surprise given the comic plot. Fun and well done!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Starbuck was a crowd favorite over the weekend at the Sonoma
International Film Festival. I hope you get a chance to see it.
Very funny script, well-played by a fine cast. David Wozniack earned the titled "El Masterbator," by making 693 sperm donations to a clinic next door to his home 20 years ago. Today, he is the worst meat delivery man in Quebec. He is irresponsible, and he owes a lot of money to some thugs who regularly nearly drown him. There is very little in his life going right. Then, he learns he is being sued by 145 of the 533 children who were conceived from his donations. The children want the sperm bank to release the identity of their father. His long-suffering girlfriend breaks the news that she is pregnant with his 534th child. She knows nothing about David's other children.
His friend, probably the worst attorney in Quebec, is all the lawyer David can afford. There is a subtext of a case going to trial. David is presented, through the plaintiffs' attorney, a package of profiles of the 145 children. Curiosity get the better of him, and he picks out one profile. To his surprise, his offspring is a great football player and a sports hero. He goes to the soccer match and admires his son. Encouraged by the excellence of his progeny, he begins to look into the lives of more of his offspring, becoming a "guardian angel" to some of them. There is a beautiful humanity in this part of the film.
This is a very funny film. It is also a very poignant film. The more we learn about David, the more we realize that he is a loving man and beloved by his family. His defects of character fade as we begin to love this guy.
I'm not sure if Starbuck will ever get a distribution deal, but I hope it does. It is a winner. See it, if you can.
In this feel-good movie the viewer is transported to the world of David
Wozniak, a French-speaking Polish-Canadian who lives in Montreal, where
he works in a family business as a meat deliveryman. He's an average
Joe without much ambition or money. He is amiable and has a good heart,
but his girlfriend Valérie is ready to dump him because of his
It turns out that he has a secret. Because of a screw-up at a fertility clinic, he is actually the biological father of hundreds of children. There are so many of them they have organised to find out the identity of "Starbuck", their common father. This diverse, interesting group of young people have formed a rather large club that socialises together. After all, they have the same father.
The plot of the movie has two threads based on David's attempts to cope with this situation: David getting caught up (secretly) in the world of these children; but at the same time David trying to hide his identity from them, Valérie and the world. I was drawn into this scenario and was curious to see where it would go.
The movie had a lot of fast dialogue in French, but it was easy to follow because of the English subtitles. The film is filled with gentle humour. The interesting world of the Wozniak family was portrayed realistically. Montreal life is the quiet backdrop to this movie. However, you have to wonder where the snow was!
One thing that wasn't really explained was how these sperm-donor children all found each other. Clearly there was a massive problem with the clinic, but this aspect is not dwelt on in the film.
Final word: a good movie.
A really good central performance by the lead actor. The story itself,
well it does contain a lot of clichés and stuff you'll be expecting
when watching a movie like this. Plot holes can be found as easy as
holes in swiss cheese. But maybe we started off the wrong foot here. Be
aware, that the only really "adult" scene (if you want to call it
that), is right at the beginning. Let's call that scene, the "shot that
made everything happen" (it's more than one shot of course).
There was actually a man in the news last year, who did father quite a lot of children. This news came out in America in 2012 and was received like a big shock. Of course the man who did donate his sperm, is not entirely to blame here. Pretty sure he needed the money, and if he could get it, by doing nothing that he wouldn't do anyways ...
So here we have a case of a comedy, that has a lot of heart (and meat, but not story wise), but lacks a bit on the big drama. And some other minor failings. Overall a more than decent effort, that probably will be remade in America sometime soon
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