2013, Ken Scott (Starbuck) -- download
previously blogged about, which is the only reason I watched a Vince Vaughn movie. In general, I don't like the man. Well, at least the cookie cutter way in which he plays all his characters. I have to admit, that a certain part of that character applies to the character of Starbuck, or David Wozniak. David is a bit of a dick or manchild lacking in personal responsibility and personal ambition. Vaughn's characters are always attempting to be outgoing and charming, convinced of their own greatness, but I cannot stand them. Maybe its the loveable big galoot that makes him popular, maybe its his pitch, but I cannot stand his standard delivery. But, again I admit, it works here and he actually is able to pull off the sincerity of the original Starbuck character.
To recap, Starbuck was the nom de plume of a man making many many many visits to the sperm bank. And in his hundreds of donations, he ended up fathering hundreds of children. Of those he fathered, 142 are suing the sperm bank to find out who their father is. David takes this opportunity to clean up his life and find out about the kids he is feels responsible for. Along with his best friend and lawyer (Chris Pratt, soon to be Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy, and just as brilliant as this character as the original was) he investigates a number of the kids, providing fatherly advice and acts of support. But he never tells anyone who he is until he is pushed in that direction and when it becomes apparent, he has to in order to show himself he has changed.
Vaughn's David Wozniak is almost on the mark to me. He does a great concerned father, but I never really bought the underlying sweetness that was apparent in the original. "Everybody loves you, " says David's immigrant father (its funny, a NYC immigrant has to be very obviously immigrant, with accent and European look, while the original was just a Montrealer) and we believe him. Well, at least in the original. I cannot think how we would like this guy, but that may be my bias. But he does carry off the sincerity of changing his life, which is the underlying point of the movie. Both sidestep the bigger questions of father's responsibility vs the rights of the mother (how many of the 142 kids have their mother's support in finding Starbuck?) but I still think a message of unwed fathers being part of their kids lives is a good one.
One additional paragraph. In the original, I loved how Montreal was a secondary character in the movie. Here we are in NYC, and really, its just another movie in New York. Any character we could have garnered has probably been done a thousand times before, so setting and location are less than secondary here. I wonder if we had transported it to another American city, like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, we could have played with that was well.