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A Mississippi widower moves to Hollywood and finds love with a transgender sex worker in “Anything,” an implausible romantic drama with good intentions that can’t overcome its silly contrivances. 

Character actor John Carrol Lynch — he was the assumed Zodiac killer in “Zodiac” — plays Early Landry, whose very name is so wholesome it evokes images of baked muffins and cold servings of milk. 

He has just lost his wife in a tragic car wreck as the film opens, and he attempts to take his own life by slitting his wrist. His movie exec sister moves him to Los Angeles, and after a few nights crashing at her pad with her husband and teenage son, Early moves into a small apartment in Hollywood.

He’s a stranger in a strange place and sticks out among his neighbors, who call him “Cracker” and describe him as looking like “Andy Griffith’s sad brother.” Eventually he warms up to Freda (Matt Bomer), his transgender neighbor, and the two lost souls strike up a friendship that eventually blossoms into more.

In a rare leading role, Lynch gives the film its warm, wounded soul, but the rest of writer-director Timothy McNeil’s California fantasy struggles to find its real world bearings. Bomer’s character, while characterized by sassy one-liners, is also saddled with a drug problem that’s used as a convenient plot device and an under-explored backstory.

While love does work in mysterious ways, there’s nothing in Early’s character that hints at the potential of romantic interest in Freda. We’re meant to scoff at the intolerance of his sister when Freda comes to a family dinner, but the emotional whiplash she feels is familiar to anyone trying to keep up with “Anything.”

'Anything'

GRADE: C

Rated R: language throughout, sexual references and some drug material

Running time: 93 minutes

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

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