Breakfast With Scot
a movie review
Basically, this film version of the Michael Downing novel is a heartwarming family story with a twist. Two professionally successful gay men — Eric, the sportscaster and former hockey player (Tom Cavanagh) and Sam, the corporate lawyer (Ben Shenkman), live a well adjusted life until their flamboyant 11 year old nephew moves in and shakes up their comfortably upper middle class existence.
The plot follows Scot (Noah Barrett), Sam's suddenly orphaned nephew, in need of temporary housing, coming to stay for a spin with his next of kin. The couple, fearing a pre-teen bully, are not quite ready for the show-tune loving, Christmas carol singing, colorful boy, who loves shopping, scents, jewelry and his mom's pink boa. Scot's unexpectedly glitzy behavior is most upsetting to sports jock, Eric, who is struggling to maintain a rugged he-man image in both his professional and personal life.
Scot is delightfully in touch with all his emotions and, like a lot of 11 year olds, honestly blurts out inconvenient facts at the most inopportune times. In order to "help" him adjust to the "real" world, Eric decides to teach him how to "behave more like a boy," with hilarious consequences.
They buy him new clothes, lock away his scented lotions, potions and jewelry and instruct him to be "more discreet." Since Scot longs to belong again, he tries very hard to be what Eric expects him to be, including enlisting in a junior hockey team, with mixed results. As Scot attempts to suppress his basic inclination to please the adults around him, Eric and Sam look at their own hypocrisy and begin to question the price to be paid for remaining in the closet.
This movie is so charming, natural, caring and true that it is hard not to root for a happy ending. Eric, even if misguided in perceiving Scot's needs at first, genuinely doesn't know how to parent such a boy and makes an effort to be a good male role model. And Scot is so adorable at just being himself that we want him to stay that way forever, growing up wild, happy and free.
I liked that this was not a "gay movie" sending a message about gay acceptance by a straight world but rather a universally applicable film espousing true self-acceptance. The qualities of emotional maturity that ripple out to create healthy, supportive relationships — from family to community, to the world at large — is a big, ambitious aim for such a funny little movie. And yet, it manages to gently deliver that point, in the midst of laughing out loud at our own quirks and flaws, and a tendency to hide behind masks concealing our own authentic selves.
Scot, Eric and Sam together represent a very modern dramady with all the ingredients present for enjoying a warm, touching and funny hour and a half.
Other stories by Victoria Barkley: