'Any Day Now' review: Family and law clash with a direct, powerful message

'Any Day Now'

'Any Day Now' (December 27, 2012)

*** (out of four)
 
As judges and opposing attorneys flaunt their biases during frustrating courtroom proceedings, Rudy (Alan Cumming) exclaims, “Just because we are different does not make us bad parents.”
 
Rudy and his boyfriend, Paul (Garret Dillahunt), are trying to claim custody of Marco (Isaac Leyva), a teenager who happens to have Down syndrome and essentially as abandoned by his junkie mother (Jamie Anne Allman of “The Killing”). Inspired by a true story, the Chicago International Film Festival Audience Choice Award-winning “Any Day Now” takes place in 1979 West Hollywood, though obviously its issues haven’t exactly disappeared since then.
 
There’s no denying that Rudy and Paul serve as loving parents to Marco, who feels more settled with his adopted family than he ever did with his mom, a neighbor of Rudy’s. The dads haven’t known each other long—only since still-closeted Paul walked into the bar where Rudy works as a drag queen performer and the two hit it off. Cumming and Dillahunt effectively communicate the instant connection, though the major flaw of “Any Day Now” is the ease with which these two transition from strangers to lovers to boyfriends to parents--and the ease of Marco’s assimilation to the new living situation.
 
Those concerns add up to a shrug in a melodramatic but sincere film overflowing with both compassion and exasperation, as good people strive to do a good thing and in return the system looks for any possible reason to turn the child over to someone else. Rudy and Paul fight an uphill battle against a stacked deck, in which so-called moral decency doesn’t include treating everyone with anything close to respect.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

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