Today: May 21, 2024

Any Day Now

A gay couple’s struggle to keep and take care of a child in need will always make for a compelling drama and Any Day Now would be no different if it weren’t for the lack of actual drama.   Viewers will wait almost an hour before anything resembling conflict or a real struggle affects the lives of the characters living in New York in the 1970s.

Rudy is a drag performer who longs to be taken seriously as a singer.  During a show he locks eyes with Paul (Dillahunt) and the two head out to his car to steam up the windows, just how all great romances are born.  Rudy’s life isn’t as together as Paul’s 9-5 life as a lawyer; he barely makes rent on a hole of an apartment and decides to take in Marco, the young neighbour with Down’s Syndrome who is abandoned by his junkie mother.  Despite Rudy’s life being unstable and vastly different from his own, Paul is apparently enamored.

After knowing each other for just a few days, Rudy and Paul move in together with young Marco in tow and yet this massive decision is glossed over like they were deciding where to go for lunch.  It’s a move that doesn’t ring true for Paul, a closeted lawyer who is playing straight in an attempt at living a ‘normal’ life; moving in with the drag queen you hooked up with in a car park a few days before doesn’t seem like a logical move. Especially when that drag queen is as disruptive as Rudy.

When social services intervene and begin asking questions about Rudy and Paul’s ‘alternative’ lifestyle, the couple has to navigate the homophobic legal system of the ‘70s and risk losing Marco to the foster system.

Alan Cumming is a fine performer but when working the constraints of an accent that is not his own delicate Scottish lilt, he can struggle as he does here with having to sound like a real New Yorker.

Outside of his vocal abilities, which are disappointingly not up to scratch, Cummings character is, like everything in this film, massively underwritten.  Rudy’s motivation for taking in Marco is that he simply can’t stand to see a child suffer for things that aren’t his fault; a reasoning that is given way too late in the film to mean that much.  The writer struggles to differentiate between personality and character, the former of which Rudy has a lot but too little of the latter.

Dillahunt is in the same boat as Cummings; his character Paul, the closeted, divorced lawyer has very little to offer the movie other than someone for Cummings to act against.  The subplot, if you can call it that, is that Paul is not out as gay at work, of course, and his boss is about to trust him with a big case. Three guesses as to what happens there.

The film is sentimental and good natured but feels more like a decent made-for-TV movie than a theatrical outing. It’s a story that means well but homophobia in the ‘70s never looked so bland.  Any Day Now never fully rises above mediocre melodrama and suffers from a script that’s too short with one-note characters.

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