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Movie review: 'Starbuck's' loser turns family man in big way

March 21, 2013|By Amy Nicholson
  • Patrick Huard stars as "David Wozniak" in "Starbuck."
Patrick Huard stars as "David Wozniak" in "Starbuck." (Jan Thijs / Entertainment…)

Everyone hates David (Patrick Huard), and with good reason: The shiftless, selfish 42-year-old butcher is such a screw-up that when he impregnates his girlfriend Valérie (Julie LeBreton), she severs ties so their child won't have to deal with the endless disappointment of knowing him.

Great news — David agrees he's not ready to be a dad. Except he already is, thanks to a past gig as a frequent sperm donor. He's fathered 533 children, 142 of whom have filed suit to meet "Starbuck," the champion self-pleasurer of 1988.

Ken Scott's French-Canadian dramedy shunts the courtroom struggles to the side after David discovers one of his sire is a star soccer player — jackpot. As he's more than $80,000 in debt to thugs who would delight in drowning him in his bathtub, you'd expect this goon to suck up to his wealthiest kids.

But Scott and co-writer Martin Petit's script is sweet, not bleak. Dubbing himself their guardian angel, David anonymously stalks and befriends each of his good-looking brunet children including the street musician, heroin addict and historical tour guide as well as the lifeguard, severely handicapped person and vegan goth.

Is David inspired to become a better man? Let's just say "Starbuck" is determined to end in cinema history's biggest group hug. But as amiable art-house fluff, it's a passable way to kill time before the Vince Vaughn American remake later this year.

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"Starbuck."

MPAA rating: R for sexual content, language and some drug material.

Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

At the Landmark, West Los Angeles. Expands March 29.

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