Syd (Theo Green) and Curtis (Jonah Parker) in Breakfast with Curtis.
By Don Simpson
Writer-director-actor Laura Colella'sBreakfast with Curtis begins as a seemingly grumpy old hippie threatens to crush the skull of a nine year old boy. We then jump forward five years... Now 14 years old, we can only assume that Curtis (Jonah Parker) has stayed far away from his hippie neighbors – or at least their cat – ever since his frightening encounter with Syd (Theo Green), the de facto leader of the household. It is also not surprising that Curtis is still a bit skittish when Syd makes a neighborly attempt to speak with him.
See, Syd runs an online bookstore. In an effort to keep up with the Joneses of the Internet, he has decided to record a series of video blogs showcasing his wine-fueled diatribes to attract more traffic to his website. Syd recently overheard that Curtis has shown a propensity for making videos, making Curtis the ideal (read: cheapest) candidate to direct, shoot and edit Syd's vlogs. It takes some convincing, but Curtis eventually acquiesces and together they begin to make some movie magic.
The scenes of Syd and Curtis working together – and the clips of their resulting projects – are really the only interesting parts of Breakfast with Curtis. Otherwise, this film loses its purported authenticity whenever its non-professional cast decides to over-emit and overact. Breakfast with Curtis is far from the life-caught-unawares production I expected it to be; instead, this ragtag group of non-professional actors hams it up for the camera. The end result is a no frills, home theatrical project in which a bunch of inebriated housemates decide to put on a show – and, unlucky for us, record it on video. And, yes, it is as goofy and low-quality as it sounds.
Breakfast with Curtis screens at the Los Angeles Film Festival: June 20, 8:10 p.m., Regal Cinemas.