Alan Cumming stars as Rudy, a gay man working as a drag queen during the late 70’s. He meets a nervous lawyer, Paul, who has never had a homosexual encounter. The two fall in love and begin a relationship. Rudy lives in a crummy apartment next to a junkie. One night she is arrested, leaving her mentally handicapped kid, Marco, behind. Rudy comes across him and becomes compelled to take care of him. He convinces Marco’s mother to sign over guardianship to him and Paul while she’s in prison. But since it wasn’t so acceptable to be gay in the 70’s, the couple struggle to keep their relationship a secret, otherwise they might lose Marco.
I am a very open person. I am for gay marriage. I have no problem with it. I think this is a very important story and it brings up some very important issues that must be addressed. That said, I don’t think anything in this movie came off like the filmmakers intended. Their heart was in the right place, but the entire production is done with the subtlety of a Lifetime film. Also, nothing in the movie feels genuine. It all feels robustly fabricated. The heart of the film should have been the relationship between Marco and the couple taking care of him, but Marco is often shoved into the background in favor of the other characters stepping up on a soapbox to preach about their basic human rights. Like I said, all of these are crucial points, but when they’re hit upon you like a sledgehammer, it becomes unbearably too much.
I must commend Alan Cumming for going all the way with his performance. He displays a powerfully bold confidence that is so bold, that it eventually becomes too much. I didn’t buy him as a real character at all. It always felt like he was acting. I appreciated that he had the balls to take his performance as far as he did, but if he would have dialed it back a bit (or a lot), it wouldn’t seem so self important. Garret Dillahunt plays Paul like he’s got something shoved far up his ass. His facial expressions are always constipated. It’s like this was his first job acting in a movie and he couldn’t loosen up. Isaac Leyva (who is actually disabled) seems to be fine in the role as Marco, but like I said, we don’t spend enough time with him to feel the bond between him and the couple. Chris Mulkey, Francis Fisher and Clark Gregg play the people who stand in the way of the couple getting custody of Marco. They do decent work I guess, but they’re characters are so one-dimensional. The worst character in the movie is Lonnie played by Don Franklin. He’s this tough, black, jive-talking lawyer helping the gay couple, and he couldn’t be more of a stereotype from the era. The actor wears what is obviously a wig, which is an afro that is so perfectly symmetrical that his head ends up looking like the tip of a microphone. That’s about as artificial as you can get.
I guess if I had something nice to say about this movie is that Alan Cumming’s voice is fantastic. There are a few scenes where he sings a few songs, and they sound terrific. I wouldn’t mind getting the soundtrack just for those songs. But, unfortunately, the movie isn’t about Rudy becoming a singer (which would have been a much more enjoyable film). Instead, it’s an overcooked child custody tale that preaches endlessly about gay rights. And don’t get me started about the forced ending that was put there mainly for you to get out the Kleenex. I didn’t buy anything in this mindnumbingly tedious “message” film. ★ (out of ★★★★)
– Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug use.
– Running time: 1hr 37min.