Along with the usual year-end blockbusters, Christmas invariably brings at least one earnest low-budget effort, booked for a one-week run presumably in a deluded attempt to qualify for the Oscar race. This season's entry is Gary Kent's "Rainy Day Friends" (at the Fox International), a film as well-meaning as it is miscalculated.
Sentimental and contrived, it tells of an unlikely friendship that strikes up between an incorrigible Latino youth (Esai Morales) and a Beverly Hills attorney (a stolid Chuck Bail) when both are patients at a Southern California cancer treatment center.
Morales, a petty thief and drug dealer, is just about as uncooperative as a patient as could be, declaring war on the hospital that's not costing him a penny for life-saving treatment, rather than on the disease. Yet we're asked to believe that his combative spirit, as misdirected as it is, inspires Bail not to give in to his own illness.
Kent means us to be sympathetic with Morales, who's trying to protect his illegal alien family from exposure, yet gives us no reasons to be so. (Wouldn't he be doing his relatives more of a favor by making every effort to get well, especially since his illness is not necessarily terminal?) Morales childishly hammers away at the hospital and its regimens, yet it seems quite a decent well-run place.