Magazine article Variety

Any Day Now

Magazine article Variety

Any Day Now

Article excerpt

FILM ÏRIBECA

Any Day Now

A child with Down syndrome unexpectedly ende up In the lap of a flamboyant drag singer and his closeted districtattorney b.f. in "Any Day Now," the sensitive sophomore outing of helmer Travia Pine ("The Space Between")' This intimate character drama explores gay adoption rights, or rather the lack thereof, in 197Oa Los Angelee without ever becoming preachy or pushing for contempo relevance. A stellar perf by Alan Gumming as the croBs-dreeeing crooner-cum-caretaker Ie the pic's most marketable asset, while its recent Tribeca audience award win suggests "Day" has crossover potential that a smart dlatrib could tap Into.

Rudy Donatelle (Gumming) is the lead lip-syncher of drag act at an LA. gay club. During a performance, he spots a handsome guy slouching at a bar. Before you can say sexual charge, Rudy is servicing the man, a district attorney named Paul (Garret Dillahunt), in a car, followed by a short, funny scene involving the police that quickly establishes the men's main traits and complementary natures.

It could have been a one-night thing, but when Rudy finds Marco (Isaac Leyva), the Down-syndrome son of his drug-addict neighbor, Marianna (Jamie Anne AUman), abandoned at home at night, his first instinct is to take Marco to a man of the law. Paul. With Marianna arrested and Marco escaping from the care of social services to "go home," Rudy finds he feels the need to look after the child, despite the fact that the Queens-born singer doesn't know Marco very well and is broke.

Fine, reworking a screenplay written almost four decades ago by George Arthur Bloom, successfully combines character flourishes and narrative development in almost every scene, turning the pic into a forward-barreling story populated with fully rounded people. The two men decide to petition for temporary custody, and when the pragmatic Paul suggests they teU the judge that they live together (since Paul is financially more stable), the more impulsive Rudy immediately seizes the opportunity and says he'll move into Paul's place with Marco. The short scene highlights the deeper needs and desires of both; though their relationship started with a sexual spark, it's the shared care of their charge that brings them together.

The film's second half details the couple's battle for permanent custody after Marco's mother is released. Though Marianna's a convicted lawbreaker and drug fiend who abandoned her offspring, the judges have a hard time believing the child would be better off living with two homosexuals. Period setting is specific enough to see these problems in context, and Fine refrains from pushing analogies to the current gay adoption debate beyond what naturally arises from the material. …

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