A movie about the masculine gay couple who wind up taking care of a 10-year-old queen should be some kind of farce - using the ridiculous to illustrate the true. "Breakfast With Scot" opts for the sort of sitcommery you might come across at a weak spot in the CBS Monday night lineup. Call it "Two and a Half Gays."
After his mother dies of a drug overdose, Scot (Noah Bernett) comes to live in Toronto with his lawyer uncle, Sam (Ben Shenkman), and Sam's partner, Eric (Tom Cavanagh), who used to play for the Maple Leafs and now hosts a TV sports show. Eric is one of those guys who thinks real men play sports and don't communicate. So flamboyant little Scot is a real embarrassment, with his elaborately tied neck scarves and penchant for breaking into holiday songs. He's like the Disney Channel version of Rufus Wainwright.
This is territory previously covered in the French film "Ma Vie en Rose," which took a relatively more sophisticated view of both a child's self-expression and adults' discomfort over it. "Breakfast With Scot" pushes vomit slicks and scenes where Eric, to Sam's chagrin, expresses his aversion to public displays of affection. Directed by Laurie Lynd and adapted from Michael Downing's novel (which was actually set in Cambridge) by Sean Reycraft, the movie isn't broad so much as obvious. Of course the little sissy is also a genius figure skater. Of course the ex-hockey player hates the word "gay."
It's nice that Eric and Sam seem like a lot of average gay yuppies - dully indistinguishable from their straight neighbors and co-workers. And Eric's fear that Scot might make him conspicuously gayer is an interesting idea that goes nowhere. There's a really terrific movie to be made about both gay homophobes and shamelessly flamboyant kids. But "Breakfast With Scot" is woefully simple-minded. It lacks the psychological realism of certain decent dramas and is too reliant on cheap pratfalls and Cavanagh's pinched approach to comedy.
The best thing in the movie is Bernett, whose performance is a comedic marvel. Watching his eyes as he caresses a charm bracelet to his cheek while wearing a hockey jersey, or seeing him tape a hockey stick in terror, is to know what this film could have been - the best John Waters movie ever to come out of Canada.
Wesley Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.