THE PERSONAL is very much political in the agenda-driven new film Any Day Now, which sacrifices character development and relationship building in favor of making a point. That the point made is a heartfelt and worthwhile one goes some distance toward making up for the film's myopic focus.
Paul (the always-excellent Garret Dillahunt) and Rudy (Alan Cumming, choking his Scottish brogue into an approximation of a New York accent) are a pair of gay lovers in 1979 Los Angeles whose whirlwind romance accelerates when they abruptly find themselves caring for a teenager with Down syndrome. Marco (Isaac Leyva) has been abandoned by his mother, and Rudy and Paul willingly commit to providing the best life possible for the boy they come to think of as their son—even as they must pretend to be cousins in order to fool a world not yet ready to believe that gay men can be parents. But when the true nature of their relationship is revealed, the court system threatens to revoke custody of Marco and send him into foster care.
Any Day Now focuses on the injustice of this situation: That this caring, committed couple isn't trusted to care for a child who clearly needs them. But crucial narrative elements are overshadowed by the film's laser-focus on injustice: Namely, the relationship between Paul and Rudy literally happens overnight, and not enough attention is paid to the formation of their bond with each other and with Marco. The setting, too, is overlooked: Few periods in recent American history are as tawdrily fascinating as Los Angeles in the 1970s, but little local color emerges here, outside of the standard movie-issue drag club where Rudy works as a performer.
Any Day Now gets its point across, and loudly; if it seems at times manipulative, it's nonetheless a well-meaning, right-minded tearjerker that hinges on great performances from Dillahunt and Cumming.