Breakfast With Scot Movie Review
Review by Robert Bell (B)
Drastically simplifying the complexities of internalized homophobia in relation to the public presentation of same-sex unions and historically feminine characteristics, Breakfast with Scot succeeds mainly in spoon-feeding some unfortunate realities of the homosexual persuasion to a mainstream audience that likely had not given it any prior thought. Everything is presented in an entirely digestible televised light where lifelong struggles are battled and won with the aid of minor life events and well placed speeches. Said simply, Breakfast with Scot is entirely unrealistic and idealized but perfectly affable nonetheless.
The niceties start with gay couple Eric (Tom Cavanagh), an ex-Toronto Maple Leaf who now commentates for a sports network, and Sam (Ben Shenkman), a decidedly swishier lawyer who stands by his man regardless of having to hide his relationship from the outside world. Their relationship is mostly stable aside from Eric's need to remain in the closet for professional reasons and the occasional impact his apparent self-loathing has on Sam's tender sensibilities.
Everything, however, is uprooted when Sam's brothers girlfriend dies of a drug overdose and leaves her 11-year old son Scot (Noah Bernet) without a home. Since Sam's brother Billy (Colin Cunningham) is off gallivanting around South America, the child is inevitably dumped on the happy gay couple, who really had no desire for children in the first place. The issue is only exacerbated when they discover that Scot is a musical-obsessed, boa wearing, gay stereotype, which of course irks the hell out of straight-acting Eric.
In fact, something that can be said for Breakfast on the whole is that, aside from the vaginal presentation of young Scot, the characters are grounded with a naturalness and heed that thankfully avoids cliché, for the most part. It is true that Eric's initial aggression is a bit overdone and his tendency to befriend only the women at work is pretty amusing but Cavanagh plays the character with sincerity, understanding the need to avoid caricature while ensuring that his instinct to “straighten up” Scot comes from a compassionate and pragmatic place.
These occasionally thoughtful portrayals help mask some lamentable realities, such as the fact that a gay man with Eric's degree of socially constructed anxieties would likely have married a woman and spent his free time trolling for dick on the internet. Truthfully, many negative factors are glossed over with a rainbow flag waving idealism that settles for glib observations about the true emotional impact that a lifetime of being taught to mask ones feelings for the sake of survival has on someone. These ideals transition from both Eric's personal revelations to the eventual, and inescapable, acceptance of Scot's flamboyance regardless of society's willingness to embrace it. An examination of darker themes, however, would have made for a very different and less commercially viable film, and given the political climate, may not have been appropriate.
Comedy and drama are juxtaposed appropriately, making for a mostly pleasant viewing experience. If social realities are ignored and the attitude of ABBA listening fabulousness is adopted, Breakfast might become a favourite for some. For most, however, the film will exist as a cute and pleasant, but forgettable, look at a new kind of family with different, but similar, problems.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.