French-Canadian comedy, “Starbuck,” is already headed for a Hollywood face-lift starring Vince Vaughn, (which I’m sure will come loaded with a U.S. title that guarantees to get that male 15-24 demographic in theater seats) but don’t let that deter you from catching the original because let’s face it, they’re usually better than their re-booted cousins.
Well meaning, forty something, fuck-up David Wozniak (Patrick Huard,) can never do anything right, yet when he’s faced with a surprise pregnancy from his girlfriend and a class action lawsuit from sperm donations gone awry and resulting in over 500 biological children, he decides it might be time for a change. So, instead of coming forward with his identity to the 142 teenagers suing for his identity, David sets out to covertly meet them.
While the premise of a 42 year-old man being slapped with a lawsuit from 142 biological children is completely absurd, (based on semi-true story) actor Patrick Huard carries the weight of the ridiculous with well timed dead pan delivery and an innocence that makes his character loveable and enjoyable to watch as he learns what it means to be a father. There’s plenty of room in the plot to be annoyingly sentimental or just plain dense, ultimately killing the funny, but Huard makes all the difference where other comedians might flail. Huard was equipped with a side kick lawyer friend, Avocat (Antoine Bertrand) who had some cheap and predictable laugh lines, but served as a decent sounding board for the loveable lead and wasn’t so dominant in the story that he became distracting.
I give credit to director Ken Scott as well, who’s also slated to helm the U.S. version, because he deftly equalizes the ridiculous and sap with dry humor and farce, and let meaning gracefully enter into the story. I’m hoping his involvement in the U.S. version will be the saving grace.