Sex and Breakfast Review

Dec 14, 2007 | 4:10am EST

James (Macaulay Culkin) and Heather (Alexis Dziena) have a problem. Heather loves him but cannot climax with him during sex. Ellis (Kuno Becker) and Renee (Eliza Dushku) also have a problem in that she isn’t as sure about their relationship as he is and wants to experiment by having a lesbian encounter. Each couple meanders their way to Dr. Wellbridge (Joanna Miles) whose group sex therapy system has helped an appreciative crowd to broaden their horizons. The two couples are paired up and their dull partner-swapping evening results in big changes for all four people involved. “Dull” is the operative word here as Sex and Breakfast never ignites any interest in the characters individually nor as a group. And even more mysteriously for a film that centers around sex it is completely sexless and non-erotic-- even while the four are in the midst of having intercourse in the same bedroom. Macaulay Culkin has grown up to have a face that is strangely un-cinematic. He’s not exactly ugly but he is certainly not handsome with his pale skin flared nostrils and bulging eyes. Plus his character in Sex and Breakfast is a total dullard whose only interesting quality seems to be that he is a nice guy--which makes it something of a Hollywood mystery as to why such a beautiful woman as Alexis Dziena would be living with him in the first place. She is the opposite of Culkin with a face that drinks up the camera and draws all eyes to her when she is onscreen. But she cannot sustain her scenes with Culkin alone and they fall flat throughout. Eliza Dushku is also a pretty woman; her pairing with handsome Kuno Becker is in keeping with the more traditional Hollywood pretty people combos but their scenes together are equally enervating. It’s as if the four of them got together and agreed to keep the tone of the story so flat and unemotional as to suck all the life out of it. Two bright spots are Joanna Miles as the shrink who puts the two couples together and Jamie Ray Newman as the waitress who serves them both breakfast and entices Renee toward acting on her lesbian leanings. Writer/director Miles Brandman is apparently hoping to follow in the footsteps of greats like Ingmar Bergman the late Swedish filmmaker who understood perfectly how to create movies about interpersonal relationships that literally jumped off the screen and into one’s own psyche. Sadly  Brandman has a long way to go to reach that skilled level of storytelling and filmmaking. The one thing he does right here is to set his tale of insipid people in Los Angeles the place where insipid people flock to from all over the world. The problem is these people have no soul and are excruciating to spend time with. Perhaps Brandman should try blowing some stuff up in his next film? At least that would be something to keep audiences from looking at their watches every five minutes to see how much longer there is to go until his movie is mercifully over.

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