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Sex and Breakfast (A Movie Review)


Starring Macaulay Culkin, Kuno Becker, Eliza Dushku, Alexis Dziena, Joanna Miles, Eric Lively, Jamie Ray Newman, Tracie Thoms, Anita Gnan, Robert Carradine, John Pleshette, Maree Cheatam, Vincent Jerosa, Margaret Travolta, Kory Hutchinson and Nikki Kemp.

Screenplay by Miles Brandman.

Directed by Miles Brandman.

Distributed by First Look Studios. 82 minutes. Rated R.

Perhaps the most shocking moment of Sex and Breakfast comes in the very first scene. It shows Macaulay Culkin as James, naked in bed, finishing a rousing sexual rendezvous and then watching it back on videotape as his girlfriend goes to the bathroom.

The Home Alone kid is a perv?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Now I know it's not fair to hold his past as a child star against him. Also, I do know that in his rare adult roles – like this and Party Monster – Culkin has done his best to prove himself to be an adult... perhaps even to an excessive amount. Still, somehow, I missed Party Monster (like most of the rest of the world), so this was my first exposure to the new, adult Mac.

However – again, through no fault of his own – he still looks so young and has such similar features that even as I watched him perusing his own homemade porn tape, I couldn't help but flashback on him making a giant pancake with his Uncle Buck.

Of course, Sex and Breakfast is somewhat built to shock and titillate – though it does so with a soberness and somewhat jaded view of sex and romance – so I guess it is not such a leap that they would hire such a recognizable (though, granted, long out of the spotlight) childhood face and then try to reinvent our perception of the man.

Sex and Breakfast tries to be a very new-agey look at troubled relationships in Los Angeles of the new millennium, and yet strangely it feels very old-fashioned, like a movie from the 1970s (The Harrad Experiment comes specifically to mind) which has somehow been time-warped into the modern day.

Culkin plays James, a young guy who is involved with Heather (Alexis Dziena, who is probably best known for playing Sharon Stone's precocious daughter in Broken Flowers). She is beautiful, free-spirited, and sexually adventurous. They are in love. The only problem is he can't seem to get her to come to orgasm.

Not far away (at least geographically, they are a world apart in lifestyles) are Renee (Eliza Dushku of Buffy and Tru Calling) and Ellis (Kuno Becker of the Goal movies). Their sexual dysfunction is more difficult to pinpoint – other than the fact that they are in love and plan to get married yet seem to have no understanding of each other’s sexual needs and fantasies.

These two couples do not realize that the others exist (though it turns out that they do frequent the same coffee shop). However, soon their lives will be intertwined intimately.

Both couples go to a seminar by a popular sex-therapist/psychologist (Joanna Miles), which promises to bring physical and emotional intimacy to couples who are having trouble connecting.

The prescription from this world-renowned therapist? Why not try swinging?

Yes, that's right. A couple is having trouble connecting sexually and emotionally, so maybe they just need to invite another couple in to join them in bed.

Nope... can't see this going badly.

And where do I sign up for this seminar?

Not that I'm knocking swinging. It's been going on for as long as mankind has existed, and many couples worldwide are comfortable with it. However, it doesn't seem like something to solve relationship problems. I would assume that a couple would have to be very secure in their bond in order to be intimate with another couple.

None of these four seem all that sure about where they are as a pair. Experimenting with another couple will either bring them closer together or tear them apart. So, when it ends up driving a wedge between the couples before one decides to hang on to what they have and the other breaks up – no one in the audience is really surprised. Only the characters didn't seem to see it coming.

Strangely, for an R-rated film about four beautiful young people obsessing about fucking, Sex and Breakfast is oddly restrained and chaste. The sex scenes are short and inexplicit. However, the couples discussing the meaning of the sex seems to last forever.

In the end, Sex and Breakfast is neither as insightful nor as titillating as it wants to be.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2008 All rights reserved. Posted: February 2, 2008.


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