A decent cast faces an uphill battle of Sisyphean proportions in "Any Day," a cliché-ridden, heavy-handed redemptive drama written and directed by Rustam Branaman.
British actor Sean Bean, sporting a quiet rumble of a working-class American voice, plays an embittered boxer who has just been sprung from a 12-year stint in prison for fatally pummeling a man during an altercation.
With nowhere to go, he stays with his sister (Kate Walsh), the single mom of an angelic son (Nolan Gross). But soon he gets back into the swing of things, dating a woman he hit on at the supermarket (Eva Longoria) and finding work at a pizza joint run by Tom Arnold's Roland.
When you hear Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" played over a sequence involving a guy who's just done time, you have a fairly good sense that the element of understatement will unlikely be an option.
Making good on that feeling, Branaman signals every upcoming plot shift with all the subtlety of one of the ex-con boxer's lethal punches.
By the time the film reaches a faith-based, third-act crescendo, Bean, Walsh and company, despite their best efforts, look like they know they've been beaten, while the score's mournful strings wring out whatever pathos remains untapped.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood.