Some people will be disappointed to find out Starbuck is not a documentary or a biopic on the American coffee company. Instead, this film serves you a cup of The Average Joe. In this movie, his name is David.
Like most movies starring a loveable loser, David's life is at a dead-end. He owes money to the mob and finds out his estranged ex-girlfriend is pregnant. But before hilarity ensues, something from his past resurfaces! David was an avid sperm donor in his twenties and now learns his "service to society" has given life to over 530 people.
Over 140 of those 533 people want to know the man who has given them life but can't because he signed a contract to remain anonymous. Some of the film's humor would suggest this is the French-Canadian version (because the film is set in Canada and is spoken in French) of a wanna-be raunchy American comedy. But it's not. This is a grounded comedy-drama about an irresponsible man learning to become a responsible one. Although the comedy is steady, its dramatic tone is a bit better, bringing depths of sincerity and an earned sentimentality that popular American comedies attempt but fail at.
Through the dramatic beats of the film, it became clear to me that this movie didn't want to be another little indie gem. It wanted to be greater. This film wants to earnestly move you emotionally without being pretentious and, if you have a soul, it should. However, the film relies on too many montages to pass the time when it could have used those moments to create stronger, memorable scenes and characters.
For some heavy film drinkers, this movie will appear as another solid, quirky, foreign indie. But for the casual film drinker who isn't used to having a French-Canadian cup, you may find this film to be a pleasant surprise. I know I did. I'll take a cup of "pleasant surprise" any day.