4.5
Movies  |  Reviews

Breakfast with Scot

October 17, 2008  |  4:30pm
Breakfast with Scot
Release Date: Oct. 10
Director: Laurie Lynd
Writers: Michael Downing (novel), Sean Reycraft (screenwriter)
Cinematographer: David A. Makin
Starring: Noah Bernett, Thomas Cavanagh, Ben Shenkman
Studio/Run Time: Regent Releasing, 95 mins.

Eric and Sam are a committed gay couple, though not married or in a civil union, suddenly forced into custody of Scot when his mother dies. They deal with this change in a humorous getting-to-know-each-other plot that’s somewhere between Kramer vs. Kramer and Big Daddy in tone. The catch here is that Scot is also gay, flamboyantly so, at least so far as a pre-pubescent child can be said to have any form of sexuality. This makes Scot a pariah at school and leaves Eric and Sam uncertain if they should raise him to embrace who he is or to be like them and for the most part hide his sexuality for social and professional reasons.

Given Breakfast with Scot’s content, there’s no getting away from the difficult politics at play. Eric and Sam are to some extent representations of this, with Eric a jock completely in the closet publicly and Sam seemingly unconcerned with how others see him. Sam is given little focus, though, as the film really becomes Eric and Scot’s. Eric works out his own issues by getting Scot to try and fit in more at school and play hockey, as Eric did himself to avoid condemnation. It’s an interesting take on the adoption narrative, but not as trailblazing as it could be.

This is unfortunate, since going down this road leaves many of the film’s ideas about sexuality muddled and uncertain. Where Breakfast ultimately stands on Scot’s attempt to pass as straight doesn’t resolve, and Scot’s character also has a lot of issues due to how over-the-top he’s portrayed. Much of Breakfast’s humor comes out of this, leading to guilty laughs and confusion about how accepting the filmmakers wish to be. There’s a sense that the filmmakers are often laughing at Scot rather than with him, and though this (probably) isn’t always true, the tendency to play jokes regardless of whether they feel cruel is a let down.  

Few movies, however well-intended, deal with issues of homosexuality well. Breakfast ‘s heart is certainly in the right place, but it falls short of maturity. The film’s reliance on an otherwise clichéd plotline cuts out a lot of its fangs, giving it an ending that feels good but doesn’t really deal with the issues at hand. It is perhaps the most charming gay family film ever made, though, and even if that’s not a big niche, Breakfast fills it well enough for now.

Watch the trailer for Breakfast with Scot:

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