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Breakfast With Scot
cast: Tom Cavanagh, Ben Shenkman, Benz Antonie, and Noah Bernett

director: Laurie Lynd

90 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
TLA DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Barbara Davies
This amusing, warm-hearted Canadian film is based on a novel by Michael Downing. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment as to the film's faithfulness or otherwise. What I can say is that I sat down to watch this, certain it would be sentimental twaddle, determined not to be moved... and even though the plot unfolded pretty much as expected it still managed to bring a lump to my throat. Then, before writing this, I sat down and watched it again and... it did it again. So, good on you, Laurie Lynd!

Eric McNally (Tom Cavanagh) and Sam Miller (Ben Shenkman) have lived together for several years and are on excellent terms with their neighbours. So what if former-ice-hockey-player-turned-sports-caster Eric is uncomfortable with admitting he's gay and mortified by public displays of affection? Lawyer Sam tolerates his foibles, just as Eric tolerates Sam's need for an immaculately kept house. Their quiet life looks set to be torpedoed, though, when Sam's newly orphaned 'nephew' Scot Latour (Noah Bernett) comes to stay.

Scot is actually the ward of Sam's feckless brother Billy (Colin Cunningham), currently living the high life in Rio. To say Billy is reluctant to shoulder his responsibilities is putting it mildly. So, given the choice of Ottawa's child services or Sam and Eric, it's obvious where Scot must stay until Billy can be persuaded to return. To the men's consternation, however, Scot turns out to be the campest 11-year-old boy in Canada, with a liking for musicals, make-up and jewellery, knitting, making pancakes, twirling around in frills, furbelows, and feather boas, and in times of stress singing Christmas carols. If Scot is to survive encounters with the neighbourhood bully, the local school, life in general in fact, he will need to learn 'manlier' skills. And when Eric stumbles upon Scot's talent for skating, signing him up for the local ice hockey team seems the obvious solution...

If the characters and setting are slightly farfetched, the neighbourhood in which Eric and Sam live idealised, and the plot on the predictable side - we know very well that by the conclusion everyone will have adjusted to and learned something from this initially unwelcome experience - Breakfast With Scot is still entertaining and very watchable, and being Canadian it's far less schmaltzy than a Hollywood version might have been. Though at first Tom Cavanagh (TV series Ed) has a tendency to gabble his dialogue (I could have done with subtitles!), thankfully he soon calms down and gives a strong, subtle, often amusing performance as the self-conscious Eric. Ben Shenkman (Angels In America) has less to work with as Eric's more laidback partner, but he provides solid support and comes into his own during Sam's scenes with his cavalier, selfish brother. The complex, flamboyant role of Scot is a big ask for any child actor, but gap-toothed, curly-haired Noah Bernett (Gothika) does a commendable job. If Bernett hasn't quite got the hang of crying convincingly yet, he does everything else well, even managing to strike just the right balance between pathos and matter-of-factness in the poignant scene where Scot reveals how his mother died of an overdose.

DVD extras: trailers and a photo gallery.

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