"Breakfast with Scot" is a sweet, innocuous and blandly heartwarming story about a gay couple who take charge of a prissy, precocious 11-year-old boy.
If there’s an all-gay version of Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel lurking on the cable or satellite TV spectrum, then “Breakfast With Scot” will surely find a comfortable home. Bearing the same impact and integrity as a family special or sitcom pilot, this story of a precocious little boy and his two new upscale dads is touching, innocent, heartwarming and as blandly sweet as a bowl of morning milk toast.
The mildness starts with Eric McNally (Tom Cavanagh), a Toronto sportscaster and former pro hockey star whose closeted professional world clashes anxiously with his only slightly more outed home life. Eric shares a snazzy house with Sam (Ben Shenkman), an equally well-off attorney who comes across as slightly bemused by Eric’s conflicted routine. Presumably these men are domestic partners, but judging by their awkward and curiously sexless interaction, they could as easily be bachelor roommates.
In a cumbersome bit of plot that might have worked better on the printed page (the script was adapted from a novel by Michael Downing), Sam’s loutish brother disappears after his girlfriend dies of a drug overdose, leaving her 11-year-old son an orphan. The boy isn’t even Sam’s nephew, but paternal instincts compel him to take the wayward Scot (Noah Bernett) into their home. The ensuing wackiness makes way for a series of discomfiting changes to Eric’s neatly groomed dual lifestyles.
Eric’s uneasiness is aggravated the moment Scot sashays across their lustrous hardwood floor. Instead of a rough-and-tumble hockey-loving Canadian boy, Scot is a flamboyant caricature of effeminate manners with a mane of auburn curls and a penchant for flared pants, bangles, wide belts and feather boas. The presence of such an anomalous girlie-boy causes ripples of disquiet for everyone.
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If the realization of this unusual domestic angst succeeds, it’s only because of a capable cast and a slick production that buffs reality with a rosy glow. Cavanagh (best remembered as TV’s “Ed”) walks through the movie with a ready quip and a satisfied smirk that reflects irritation, then acceptance of the strange family circumstances that befall him. Despite his relegation as straight man — so to speak — Shenkman also brings a measure of depth to material that’s none too profound.
“Breakfast” really belongs to Bernett, who gives Scot a spirit that’s bigger than the story needs it to be. His performance is as unassuming as it is theatrical and keeps the character from descending into pure silliness. There’s no particular judgment about whether Scot is gay or whether he even knows what gay is. As far as the story is concerned, such details are beside the point anyway. With dads like these, it doesn’t matter if a kid grows up to be Wayne Gretzky or RuPaul.
Ted Fry: email@example.com