“Starbuck”: Sperm Bank Crisis

Not to suggest a Moby Dick spinoff, nor a Kara Thrace-intensive Battlestar Galactica prequel, nor some sort of coffee-mermaid-monster epic, the title of Ken Scott's French Canadian crowd-pleaser likens its protagonist to a Holstein bull famous for his widely disseminated semen. This improbably agreeable comedy is done in the approximate style of Reagan-era Hollywood, complete with falsely modest patriarchal condescension, but very helpfully filtered through a sweetly scruffy Montreal ethos. Also born of the '80s are the more than 100 children sired by our hero, a one-time sperm-donation pro who's now a hapless 40-something bachelor and big-hearted lug played by Patrick Huard. Just as his ex-lover (Julie LeBreton) tells him she's pregnant, all those previous kids file a class-action suit to find out who he is. Stepping up to dadhood starts with peeking into their lives and pretending to be a guardian angel. From there it only gets more preposterous, but in creatively various ways. Scott's narrative discretion and well-played bits of shtick somehow sustain his silly fantasy of expansively functional family, and the whole thing goes down more easily than it has any right to.

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