Opens Fri., April 12 at Sundance Cinemas and Lincoln Square. Rated R. 108 minutes.
Who doesn’t love children? And more children means more love, right? In this very broad, sentimental French-Canadian comedy, a 40-ish schlub named David (Patrick Huard) once used the code name “Starbuck” to make donations at the sperm bank. Two decades later, it’s revealed that the clinic used his sperm exclusively—meaning the still-anonymous David now has over 500 college-age offspring. A graying layabout bachelor with an impatient girlfriend, debts, and a job delivering meat for his family’s butcher shop, David is clearly unfit to be a father. You can see where this is going. The unknown Starbuck becomes a huge tabloid story. His kids file a class-action suit to reveal his identity. David is aghast, then curious about his heirs, whom he secretly begins to visit and befriend. (“I can be their guardian angel!”) Each child creates a vignette for David to demonstrate his shaggy, bungling decency: There’s a soccer star, an actor, a heroin addict, a wheelchair kid with cerebral palsy, and so forth. To fight the lawsuit, David enlists his best friend and attorney (Antoine Bertrand), a chubby, hectored father who says his kids have destroyed his life. There’s never any doubt as to how these antics will resolve, since David is a good guy from start to finish. How do you say mensch in French? Or Apatow, for that matter? The American remake could star Jason Segel as David (with the kids a little younger), and I’m seeing John C. Reilly as the lawyer (unless Jonah Hill gains the weight back). But what about casting those 500 mothers? Don’t worry, Starbuck doesn’t consider a single one.