Starbuck [Blu-Ray] Ken Scott

Starbuck [Blu-Ray] Ken Scott
Despite taking the prize for best depictions of alienation and disenchantment, Canadian cinema isn't known for having a particularly comedic sensibility. There have been many attempts, but other than Waydowntown, Top of the Food Chain and a handful of pitch-black Quebecois films (Rats and Rabbits, Cadavres and Good Neighbours) nothing has really connected. This is why Starbuck (Ken Scott's French-Canadian comedy about parental ownership and self-sacrifice) is such a refreshing surprise. It has a broad, accessible appeal and doesn't feature a single storyline about incest or cannibalism. Instead, it pivots upon the aftermath of youthful indiscretions, featuring the well meaning, but financially incompetent, David Wozniak (Patrick Huard) coping with the knowledge that his excess college-age sperm donations have impregnated 533 eggs. Since all of the children are reaching legal age, a class action lawsuit has emerged to reveal the identity of the "el masturbator," codenamed "Starbuck." The central conflict here is one of "coming out," if you will, as David quietly enters the lives of his various children as an ersatz guardian angel, helping one out with an acting audition and calling an ambulance when another has a heroin overdose. His awkward disposition and inability to perform natural social graces, especially those of a parent, lead to much of the film's comedy, while also giving weight to the heartfelt dramatic contingent, with him developing parental instincts and ultimately maturity – something necessary, seeing as he has his own baby on the way with sarcastic, realist girlfriend Valerie (Julie LeBreton). And while this inevitable arc and the harmonious union of Wozniak's several hundred children are woefully contrived, Scott's playful tone of exaggerated reality supports the clichés, allowing for emotional catharsis and connection. In short, this is a wholly entertaining must-see film, even for those afraid of pesky subtitles. The Blu-Ray comes only with supplements en Français, which sucks, since typing out subtitle translations probably would have only taken about an hour. (eOne)