Writer-director Ken Scott offered a big-budget, English-language remake of his 2011 low-budget Quebec comedy "Starbuck" - but without the charm or genuine comedy of his French-language original. The premise is virtually identical: a slacker deliveryman discovers that his sperm bank donations from 20 years ago have yielded 533 children, with 142 of them banding together in a class action lawsuit to discover his identity.
While the original Canadian version had a modest insouciance that made it mildly amusing, this American remake unwisely gives the starring role of the excessively prolific biological father to Vince Vaughn, who pretty much sleepwalks through the role, which throws the film off balance. Vaughn offers a token of sentimentality in his efforts to surreptitiously connect with his young adult offspring, as well as some broad romanticism with Cobie Smulders as the expectant mother of the one child he created through traditional procreation. But his trademark coolest-guy-in-the-room persona only adds a sense of smugness to this role of someone belatedly accepting the notion of responsibility while stalking some of his unsuspecting offspring, while a broad subplot about Vaughn’s character being harassed by Mafia debt collectors is strictly lame sitcom rehashing of mobster stereotypes.
The film’s one redeeming feature is Chris Pratt, in a supporting role as Vaughn’s none-too-competent lawyer/best friend, who is aghast at the leading man’s predicament. Pratt is able to plumb some degree of laughs from a connect-the-dots script, which is no mean feat considering the ick-factor of this sleazy story.
Bonus extras on this release include a deleted scene (no surprise on why it was cut), bloopers, a documentary short on how the actors playing Vaughn’s biological children allegedly bonded during filming, plus a vanity focus on Vaughn that bills him as a "master of comedy" - a claim that is funnier than anything in this film!
PG-13, 105 minutes