Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The movie's called Starbuck and I can't remember when I last had such an unexpectedly good time at the movies. After I got out of jury duty this afternoon, I went down to the TIFF building just to see the Grace Kelly exhibit before it closes... and this movie was starting in an hour and I'd remember people raving about it during the festival this year, so thought I'd check it out.
The star is Patrick Huard who's not well known outside of Quebec, although according to the programmer who introduced the film, he's just about the biggest movie star in Quebec TV and film these days. I saw him a few years ago in the Canadian film Bon Cop/Bad Cop, which could have been fabulous, but was just kind of okay... But this post isn't about that movie, one that frankly was trying too hard to be "Canadian". This post is about Starbuck, which wasn't trying to be anything but funny and heartwarming and succeeded at both.
I'm trying to analyze Starbuck from a DWT perspective, but honestly, I think I'd have to see it again. I think there's something to learn about introducing a less than heroic character, but I can't 100% remember how the character was introduced. No, that's a lie. We first see him about 20 years before the story starts, jerking off at a sperm donor clinic... But then I can't remember what came next, (oh, that pun was not intended!), except that I started laughing out loud (really loud) soon after the movie began, and also teared up at least twice near the end. For me, that sums up an perfect comedy movie experience.
The premise is a tad ridiculous and some of the ways in which the story develops aren't plausible, but it's so funny and has so much heart, you don't care. The premise is this affable 40-something screw up who's just learned his girlfriend is pregnant at the same time she breaks up with him for being a screw up (oh, and some loan sharks are beating him up daily for the $80,000 he owes them, and he's trying to start a grow-op, but doesn't have a green thumb and his plants are dying...) Anyway, things are already not going well for this guy when he's visited by a lawyer who tells him that based on all the sperm donations he made back in the late 80's, using only the name "Starbuck", he's fathered 533 children, 148 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit to force the clinic to divulge his identity.
In one of the implausible plot points (which honestly, you just slide) the lawyer hands him an envelope with a profile and photo of each of the 148 young adults he's fathered who want to meet him, and after realizing some of them turned out well (the first is a famous pro-soccer player) he decides to visit (stalk) more of them and be like a guardian angel to as many of them as he can.
Okay, here's a photo I found of him, but not from this movie... Are you getting it now?
The film is in French with subtitles but so worth that tiny bit of extra effort. It's really, really funny. I have no idea how easy it will be to track this one down. imdb.com only lists release dates for France and Belguim right now, later this year... Looks like it screened in Quebec last summer...
But if this one comes to a theater near you that plays foreign language films, it's seriously worth checking out.
If a movie is really funny, I think I can forgive some implausible developments... like court cases happening almost over night... How about you? How many "mistakes" can a movie or book make before you're done with it?