Hockey Dads

rex breakfast 001 Hockey DadsBREAKFAST WITH SCOT
RUNNING TIME 90 minutes
WRITTEN BY Sean Reycraft
DIRECTED BY Laurie Lynd
STARRING Thomas Cavanagh, Ben Shenkman, Noah Bernett

Breakfast With Scot is being called the first gay family film, whatever that is. It certainly has “wholesome” scrawled all over it in pink. Tom Cavanagh, the toothy, bright-eyed charmer from the popular TV series Ed, stars as Eric McNally, a gay network sports announcer and ex-pro hockey player for the Maple Leafs, who keeps his private life a secret for fear of ruining his career and disillusioning his fans. (Traditionally, hockey is apparently ragingly homophobic.) So he and his life partner, Sam (Ben Shenkman), a sports lawyer, are not your stereotypical “out” couple. In fact, they are as square and suburban as a backyard grill. But the subterfuge is about to change as fast as RuPaul’s falsies when Sam becomes the legal guardian of his 11-year-old nephew, Scot (Noah Bernett), following the death of the boy’s mother—at least until he can locate his irresponsible slacker brother, Billy, who wants nothing to do with his sissy son. To everyone’s horror, Scot arrives wearing pink gardenia cologne and charm bracelets, hums show tunes, and has never heard of Wayne Gretzky. Instead of a baseball glove, he prizes his purple feather boa. After the neighborhood gets a load of Scot, Eric is blown right out of his closet before you can find the CD of “Judy Garland’s Greatest Hits.” Desperate to get his new charge out on the hockey field and flush his scented hand cream before he gets outed himself, Eric tries to straighten out the dedicated queen in training, which has a disastrous effect on Scot’s individuality of spirit; the adults are eventually taught to overcome their own internalized macho prejudices and become better people themselves. Children are smarter than grown-ups when it comes to self-defense. Left to his own intelligence and frankness, Scot wins new friends in his own offbeat way and even bonds with the neighborhood bully.

Bravely challenging hockey’s false and dated notion of masculinity, Breakfast With Scot is the first gay film to carry the public sanction of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the support of the National Hockey League. These bold actions deserve applause because the film is noble and well intentioned. It’s also bland and unadventurous, without much style or originality. But the smart performances, humorous dialogue and brisk pacing of Laurie Lynd’s direction are all warm and friendly—a nice antidote to misguided junk like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Breakfast With Scot ends up being a feel-good movie about how, in the dawn of a new day, it’s finally O.K. to be whoever you want to be.

rreed@observer.com