Friday, December 07, 2012

“Any Day Now” – Movie Review



This week in my movie class, we saw the drama “Any Day Now”, starring Alan Cumming.


When a handicapped teenager is abandoned by his mother, he is adopted by a gay couple – but will they legally be allowed to keep the boy?


In the Los Angeles of 1979, Rudy (Cumming) spends his nights performing the disco hits of the day as one third of a trio of lip-synching drag queens at a West Hollywood gay bar; by day, he’s trying to get his own real singing career going. One evening, when Paul (Garret Dillahunt) walks in, it’s lust at first sight with this new patron; shortly after Rudy’s gig, they hook-up and seem to hit it off right away. Afterwards, Rudy reveals he knew he was gay since he was a boy, but Paul admits that he didn’t come to his own awareness until long after he found himself in a dissatisfying marriage; recently divorced and moved to Los Angeles from Walla Walla, Washington, he is currently pursuing a career as a lawyer with the local District Attorney’s office.

One night in his apartment building, Rudy discovers Marco (Isaac Leyva), a 14 year old boy with Down Syndrome who lives in the apartment next to his. Marco’s junkie mother has left him after being recently arrested by the police; Rudy does his best to care for the boy, but seeks Paul’s legal advice as he attempts to navigate his way through the system. When Family Services takes the boy in and places him in a foster home, Marco runs away; once Rudy finds him, he requests Paul’s assistance in getting Marco’s mother to sign the boy over to them for guardianship. Rudy and Marco wind up moving in with Paul and together, they try to carve out some form of a family life.

But when Paul’s employer learns of his secret life, Paul is not only fired from his job, but also, he and Rudy are brought into court so that it could be proven that they are unfit to raise Marco. While they are temporarily able to regain custody of the teenager, the couple is eventually forced to return him to his mother upon her release from jail. Seeking counsel from a more experienced attorney, Rudy and Paul fight vigorously to wrest Marco from his drug-addled mother. But can they reacquire custody of the boy before Marco is completely neglected by his mother?


While “Any Day Now” is supposed to be based on true events, I have no idea how accurate the events in the story are in relation to what actually occurred in real life; I do know, however, that the ending of the movie did change multiple times in subsequent drafts of the screenplay. Having said that, I did find the film difficult to sit through – not because of the nature of the story, but because of the way it was told. To me, it felt as though every possible cliché was pulled out in this script to the point that it had quite the feel of a melodrama that would be a good fit on either the OWN, Lifetime or Oxygen networks.

Alan Cumming is a very gifted actor – however, I do not consider “Any Day Now” to be one of his better performances. For one thing, his character Rudy is supposed to originally be from Queens, New York; Cumming’s attempt at a New York accent is downright awful. It would seem as though Cumming took the role because it gave him an opportunity to play a flamboyant character and provide him with a chance to sing; however, his Rudy is so unlikeable in his irrational, childish histrionics that he became immediately unsympathetic to me – once this happens, it winds up being rather difficult to root for the character, regardless of what he may attempt to do in order to redeem himself.

Following the screening, our instructor interviewed the movie’s star, Alan Cumming. Cumming said that he was sent the script for “Any Day Now” in early 2011 and wound up shooting it in Los Angeles in the summer of that year, during his hiatus from the New York City – based television series, “The Good Wife”. Interestingly, he said that he was an amateur magician; he believes he is drawn to that because it would allow him to use his acting skills in order to deceive and misdirect the audience. Cumming announced that he always carried around with him a magic trick that he could perform at any time. At the urging of our instructor (and he really didn’t have to urge very hard), Cumming successfully performed his lone card trick.


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