Cumming is released
Alan Cumming is best known nowadays for his smart, snarky, and subtly camp performance as Eli Gold in The Good Wife, the best show on network television. But he originally became famous for playing the MC in Sam Mendes iconic revival of Cabaret in the late 1990s; he won a Tony and legions of straight and gay fans. He is a song and dance man, but not in the chipper, jazz hands Glee way; he is mischievous, sly, sexy, and sardonic. And very, very funny. In Travis Fine’s gay-parenting drama Any Day Now, Cumming plays a drag performer in 1970s West Hollywood who becomes a father to an abandoned teen-aged boy with Down’s syndrome. Both his Broadway skills and his (somewhat) more tempered dramatic skills are on display, and in his greatest screen role, Cumming makes the film, despite its missteps, memorable and moving.
Rudy (Cumming) is the lead of a trio of drag queens who perform at a WeHo bar. One night he picks up a patron, handsome assistant district attorney Paul (Garret Dillahunt), and it is him Rudy calls when he discovers that his junkie neighbor (Jamie Anne Allman) has disappeared, leaving her developmentally disabled son Marco (Isaac Leyva) alone. Paul balks at first, but when Marco escapes the foster home where he’s been sent and Rudy and Paul find him, they quickly become a family. In order to make that happen, however, they have to lie to a judge about their relationship. Paul’s boss figures it out what is actually going on, and since it’s the late 70s, gay parenting goes on trial. Literally.
Fine’s screenplay is structured a bit too much like a Lifetime issue-of-the-week movie, and, particularly during the courtroom scenes, some of the scenes are cartoonish. Gregg Henry, who plays the homophobic opposing lawyer, is a stereotypical monster. Fine’s direction of his actors inside Rachel Fine’s beautifully colored cinematography makes up for some of the clunky writing. But the movie is held together by Cumming’s broad, versatile, deeply sympathetic performance as Rudy. (His only flaw is his wonky Queens accent, which is a bit inconsistent.) His musical performances are key; when he sings “I Shall Be Released” over the last few images, it’s heartbreaking.
Any Day Now
Directed by Travis Fine
Written by Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom
Starring Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, and Isaac Leyva
On DVD and Amazon.com