The Quebecois comedy “Starbuck” is a sex farce without the sex, which benefits from the low-key charms of star Patrick Huard.
Huard plays David Wozniak, a screw-up who works as a delivery driver for his family’s Montreal butcher shop. He’s in debt to shady mobsters and recently was dumped by his exasperated and pregnant girlfriend, Valerie (Julie LeBreton).
He’s also just learned that a local fertility clinic, where 20-some years ago he made hundreds of sperm donations to earn extra money, is being sued by 142 of the 533 adult offspring of his genetic seed. They want to know the identity of their biological father, known only by the alias Starbuck. David must decide whether to go public or retain his anonymity as he discovers that his “children” include a soccer star, a junkie, an aspiring actor and a troubled Goth teen.
Director Ken Scott and his co-writer, Martin Petit, veer from broad comedy to tender drama as David deals with his problematic past and tries to mature in a hurry. Scott applies a gentle hand, allowing Huard’s hangdog comic attitude to shine through.
The film’s light touch is a rarity in Hollywood films and will probably be gone when Scott’s American remake, retitled “Delivery Man” and starring Vince Vaughn, arrives this fall.
Opens today at Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material; in French with subtitles; 109 minutes.