Sex and Breakfast
January 31, 2008
Sex and Breakfast (2007) is about two twentysomething couples going through the usual relationship problems. Miles Brandman’s film examines how these couples communicate (and also how they fail to do so) we each other. Ellis (Becker) and Renee (Dushku) are a self-proclaimed boring couple that spend more time pleasuring themselves than each other. Heather (Dziena) is unable to have an orgasm with James (Culkin). So, both couples decide to try group sex therapy and are matched up together. The rest of the film builds to a will-they-or-won’t-they climax (pun intended) and then briefly explores the ramifications of their decision.
Ellis is uptight and possessive while Renee is a bit of a thrill-seeker – it’s her idea to try therapy. Heather is worried that James will never fully satisfy her sexually while he is a nice, easygoing guy who goes along with group sex therapy to make her happy. It’s weird seeing Macaulay Culkin all grown up and in a film about sex with Eliza Dushku from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show. It is a nice bit of casting against type. For all involved this must’ve seemed like edgy material for them to help shed pre-existing stereotypes.
At times, this film wants to be the next Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) for the new Millennium with its frank talk about sex, disaffected twentysomethings and an independent film aesthetic, including the requisite indie rock soundtrack. Sadly, Sex and Breakfast is closer to one of the many wannabes that came out in the wake of Sex, Lies’ success, like Bodies, Rest, & Motion (1993), Sleep with Me (1994), and countless others since. The writing is competent but hardly exceptional and the leads acquit themselves just fine. There is nothing explicitly revealed visually and the issues that are raised are not dealt with in any daringly original way or with any kind of complexity, like in Sex, Lies and Videotape.
Sex and Breakfast only really gets interesting during the aftermath and everyone deals with what happened and how they feel about it. If more time had been spent on this part, we might have had a better film. The film’s fatal flaw is that it fails to examine its themes in a deeper, more meaningful way and the end result is a fine, if average attempt.