Sunday, August 2, 2015

DVDebut: writer/director Rustam Branaman's AA- and Jesus-loving melodrama, ANY DAY

ANY DAY could as easily have been called Any Movie, for all the meaning encased in its pointless title. It is, in a word, mediocre in almost every way. The story -- of a drunken boxer who kills a man in the first scene, goes to prison, and then spends the rest of the movie trying to rise above his reputation -- is mostly by the numbers. As written by Rustam Branaman (he also directed), characterization is minimal: Everything occurs for plot effectiveness rather than deepening our sense of who these people are. The dialog ranges from wooden to adequate, and by the time of the finale, you'll swear the movie is really a commercial for either Christianity or Alcoholics Anonymous (maybe both). Only the acting by a game and well-chosen cast saves the film from a humdrum snooze-fest.

The film's star, Sean Bean (above and below), is shown in just about every one of the movie's scenes. It's his story and his picture. But as good as Bean often is, he can't save this tale because he's been given far too little to work with and so comes across as an actor waiting for his character to coalesce.  (Sometimes you could swear you see him grasping at the straws the screenplay provides, hoping for something more specific on which to hang his motivation and performance.)

As his angry but loving sister, Kate Walsh is as effective as this actress is allowed to be, but it is Nolan Gross, as her young son, who pretty much steals the movie. Gross has got the "Jesus" role (he's uber-loving, strong, centered, and sacrificial), and as written, it's pretty silly. But the young actor rises to the challenge surprisingly well. Love interest is provided by a sensible Eva Longoria (above, right), while the "best pal" role goes to the always-fine Tom Arnold (below, left), as a guy who manages the local pizza shop and gives our hero much-needed employment.

That's about it. If the cast entices, take a chance. You could do worse and undoubtedly have, many times previous. From Anchor Bay Emtertainment and running 99 minutes, Any Day hits the street this coming Tuesday, August 4, for purchase or rental.

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