REVIEW: ‘Any Day Now’

To read an interview with star Alan Cumming, click here.

Rudy (Alan Cumming) is a defiant drag queen, and a survivor — the kind who tells a policeman to fuck off because he’s tired of being rolled by homophobic cops even when he hasn’t done anything wrong. Rudy struggles to make rent in the cheap apartment building also occupied by an uncaring neighbor — a junkie who leaves her Down Syndrome son alone while she scores.

When Rudy enlists one of his tricks, Paul (Garret Dillahunt), a lawyer in the D.A.’s office, to help him obtain custody of the boy, Marco (Isaac Levya), we set off on the road of gay family drama — think Queermer v. Queermer.

The emotional arcs of Any Day Now will be familiar to anyone who has seen a chick-flick tearjerker, but this film is a step above. Of course, there’s the timely nature of it (gay adoption), even though set in the 1970s when we know things never went well for gay folks or the disabled. (The pervasive suspicions about gay people will anger you. Even the gay people at the time weren’t too keen on their own striving for suburban domesticity.) There’s the indie energy and commitment to authentic portrayals of gays by Cumming, who dives head-first into his role as a Mama Grizzly. And there’s the heartbreaking performance by Leyva, a non-professional actor in a stand-out debut. (There are numerous cameos by a host of good actors: Frances Fisher, Gregg Henry, Kelli Williams, Michael Nouri.)

Sure, cliches abound, from the closeted Paul’s continual denials of a relationship with Rudy even when the opposite is obvious to Rudy’s aspirations as a singer and repeated disappointments to the stiff, anti-gay reactions of authority figures (echoes of Philadelphia are apparent) to the retro-’70s look has become its own genre in recent years. But Cumming, Dillahunt and Levya make such a stellar ensemble, so in touch with the truth of gay relationships (which are portrayed as difficult but real), that Any Day Now becomes easily a welcome addition to the too-small canon of gay films that speak to issues of heart, not just of the loins. What’s wrong with a few tears being jerked in a gay film instead of some other parts?

Three stars. Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Starvoice • 01.21.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYAlan-Cumming-2010-Emmy

Alan Cumming turns 46 on Thursday. The bisexual actor is also one of the more eccentric. In 2010, he was all over the place from the movie Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera to his deliciously snide role as Eli Gold in The Good Wife with Julianna Margulies. But he might take the cake with his 2011 voice over role as Gusty in the film The Smurfs.

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THIS WEEK

Mercury is in Capricorn squaring Saturn and Eris, tending to be worried and argumentative. The good news: Venus is in Sagittarius in harmony to all three offering a pleasant negotiation between those challenges. Simply: Good times with friends will help you see more clearly through the problems.

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AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Charm and seeming open-minded wins more agreement than  your arguments. Worrying over losses is useless. Meditate on what matters  to improve what you can.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Frustrated with your social life? Hone your social skills or focus on work for a while, be very productive and earn good notice for your efforts. The social life will kick in.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Pay close attention to colleagues and higher-ups. Not that you’re lacking, but you could learn a few tricks from them of how to be charming and sociable in ways that will prove to your advantage.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Don’t be afraid of your own sex appeal. Even in an all-business situation your erotic draw will help you win friends and arguments. Some of those friends, however, aren’t to be trusted.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Talking dirty can be a real turn on and being brutally frank can be refreshing. There’s a time and a place for everything, but with your partner and your good friends, don’t hold back.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
The best way to stay out of trouble is sticking to business — your own. Being nice to colleagues works to your advantage if you don’t expect anything in return. Stay focused on your goals.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Take your work seriously, but not too much. Be willing to laugh at your own ideas. A sense of humor is important and more effective in getting others to accept your ideas.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Leaning on traditional values will get you through crises at hand. How did your grandparents deal with similar problems? Cooking up old family recipes can be a healing meditation.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
It’s hard to know how to be in a relationship even though the answer is obvious: Just be your own sweet self. Turn on the charm (as if that takes any effort) and you’ll be fine.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
You control the outflow if you control your impulses. Keep an eye on your tongue as well; secrets aren’t safe with you right now, but use that openness to examine old doubts, worries and fears.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Go to the gym and brush up on your Dorothy Parker or Miss Manners if you feel you must. There’s always room for improvement, but really, hon, you’re fine as you are.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
The stress for success is making you a mess. Take a break. You may think there’s no time for that, but it’s a good investment that will help you to work smarter, not harder.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas