Sex and Breakfast
First Look Pictures // R // $14.98 // January 22, 2008
Review by Adam Tyner | posted May 3, 2008
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A movie nicking its title from two of the greatest things ever -- sex and breakfast -- really shouldn't be this painful to watch. Its glacial pace and uninvolving screenplay lurch around from word one, and even though Sex and Breakfast doesn't even break the 80 minute mark minus credits, it still feels bloated and unwatchably long.

Just to get this out of the way, yes, the movie's called Sex and Breakfast, and it does serve up plenty of both. It's hardly what the suggestive cover art and flirty tagline want you to think, though. This is the story of two twentysomething couples who've either lost -- or never really been able to ignite -- that spark in the bedroom, and their relationships are floundering as a result. Heather (Alexis Dziena, looking criminally underage) adores her dopey nice-guy boyfriend (Macaulay Culkin), but no matter how much she loves James, he just can't bring her to orgasm when they're together. Meanwhile, Ellis (Kuno Becker) and Renee (Eliza Dushku) have found themselves settling into an awfully boring routine, and they've been sifting through a fistful of pamphlets on bullfighting and skydiving to try to infuse some excitement into their lives. Both couples turn to group sex therapy as a hopeful solution to their woes, and Sex and Breakfast follows them throughout the strained, uncomfortable week building up to the encounter as well as touching on whether or not swinging actually did the trick.

Boredom is a big part of what's dragging down these two young couples, and that's also exactly what makes Sex and Breakfast such a headache to watch. It's a movie about four wholly uninteresting people who lead wholly uninteresting lives doing wholly uninteresting things. Sure, the title's Sex and Breakfast, but it might as well be Talk and Talk and Talk and Talk and Talk and Talk and Oh Sex and Talk and Talk and Talk and Let's Talk Some More Over Waffles. There's nothing wrong with a movie driven intensely by its dialogue, but there's no hook at all. I never once felt drawn into these characters or their sexual struggles. Its awkwardly quirky sense of humor -- rants about how "ees only my soopercock from now on!", an old man gabbing loudly about "rubbers" in an elevator, quips about geysers of eye juice and snagging endorsement deals as a barely pubescent, semi-pro masturbator, an overeager ex-boyfriend clinging onto the lowest possible rung that the Air Force has to offer, James bribing someone in an apartment building with laundry detergent after he breaks in -- never once lands a laugh. The handful of short sex scenes are as tepid and dull as the long, drawn-out conversations that make up just about every last minute of the movie. There's no carnal thrill, Sex and Breakfast isn't nearly as cutting or insightful into the physical aspect of relationships as it wants to be, and the entire movie feels as limp and lifeless as its characters' love lives. Skip It.

Video: Clearly shot on high definition video, Sex and Breakfast looks okay on DVD, despite hovering around a fairly low bitrate. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image is colorful, smooth, and reasonably sharp, although things flatten out and get awfully noisy under low light, and light blocking creeps into in some of the larger swathes of solid colors in the background. I'm not all that keen on the overly digital look to its photography, but overall, Sex and Breakfast turned out unremarkable but completely fine on DVD.

Audio: Sex and Breakfast sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack -- encoded at the kinda low bitrate of 320Kbps -- and it's as low-key as the movie itself. Sex and Breakfast is driven almost entirely by its dialogue, keeping the bulk of the activity rooted in the center channel. Roars of applause at the sex seminar and the sharp clink of forks againt plates at the diner add a bit of ambiance in the surrounds, but otherwise, the somber indie soundtrack is the only element of the mix that feels comfortable spreading across all of the channels. Bass response is anemic but seems to suit the material. Alright for what it is.

A Dolby stereo track has also been included, along with subtitle streams in English (SDH) and Spanish.

Extras: Just a long list of trailers, including one for Sex and Breakfast.

Conclusion: Sometimes relationships flounder, no matter how wonderful your intentions are, how much blood and sweat you pour into them, or how eager you might be to experiment to reignite that lagging spark. That's kind of the message of Sex and Breakfast, and it also sums up the slow, uninvolving, and clumsily acted movie itself. Skip It.

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