Starbuck

Amiable wastrel David (Patrick Huard), a standard-issue incompetent manchild, doesn’t believe he’s up to the job of being father to the baby of his very unlikely cop girlfriend (Julie leBreton) in STARBUCK. And he’s very likely right about that.

Everything he touches turns to blundering confusion and failure. Ironically, under his nom-de-masturbation “Starbuck” (the name of a champion bull), he is, via an IVF clinic, biological father to more than 500 children! That’s what they call irony. Some 100 or so of those children sue the clinic to know their true parentage. This throws Starbuck/David into a panic, and into court. Underpowered cynical comedy lawyer bits are mixed in with supposedly heart-warming slice-of-life vignettes as David stalks the children of Starbuck.

Strangely, none of them wonder what this man old enough be their father is doing with them, even before his feeble cover story is constructed.

He saves their lives. He finds them work. They have fun days out together. They bond in jolly ways. Strangely, none of them wonder what this man old enough be their father is doing with them, even before his feeble cover story is constructed. So, the court case turns out they way they do in these things, and then what always happens happens.

Everyone learns a valuable lesson about the importance of family, the value of deep human connections, no man is an island, and blah, blah, blah. It’s trite, it’s predictable, it grinds on in the only way it can. Some of the children are likeably enough characters, most have inherited at least some of David’s talent for failure. But even the ones who have genuine hardship, genuine tragedy in their lives are more like symbols to be manipulated in a tedious algebra of emotional convention then truly engaging characters. STARBUCK is blandly competent film-making at its anodyne best. Apparently there’s a Hollywood remake in the pipe with Vince Vaughan as Starbuck and that tells you everything you need to know. Have a spliff and go along for the meaning less ride.

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