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1 item from 1996

Film review: 'One Fine Day'

2 December 1996 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

In olden days of romantic comedy, couples met cute. In the anything-goes '90s, or at least in this frothy entertainment, they meet hostile. But other than that modern update, there's little difference between 20th Century Fox's "One Fine Day" and some of the finest merriments of the romantic comedy classics.

With appealing star performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney, this charmer should attract very fine days at the boxoffice. It's not hard to conjure up Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant or elements of such classics as "His Girl Friday" or "The Awful Truth" when viewing this smartly pedigreed movie. It's high praise to group Pfeiffer and Clooney in that league, but their crustily silken performances are delightfully enticing.

In this present-day scenario, they're both harried divorcees, single- parent/professionals who are thrust into one not-so-fine day in which both their professional and personal lives are stretched to the limits. She's Melanie, an architect with a career-making presentation; he's Jack, a newspaper columnist whose job hinges on clearing up a controversial column he did linking the mayor with organized crime.

They're thrust together through their kids -- he has a girl, she a boy -- when, owing to the overstretched natures of their modern lives and a string of circumstances, they find themselves not only battling their big-day battles but having to bring their elementary-age kids along with them. For their mutual benefit, they agree on a kid-sharing plan -- she watches them during his critical press conference while he takes them during her architectural presentation.

Unlike the traditional screwball comedy formula where the male was the repressed straight-arrow and the female was the wacky free spirit who loosens him up, the straight man here is Melanie, whose compulsive organizational traits put her at odds with Jack's breezy nonchalance. She thrives on order, he thrives on chaos; and in the baffling chemistry of romance, opposites-attract sparks start to fly.

Perhaps the only flaw in this well-wrought romance is that the sparks start a little prematurely. Although we readily see their differences, scenes of each character grudgingly, or surprisingly, admiring the other are scant and other than the characters' surface physical desirability, their emotional attraction is somewhat underdeveloped and unconvincing.

Still, niggling aside, screenwriters Terrel Seltzer and Ellen Simon have concocted a brainy, madcap amusement with decidedly sympathetic characters. The certain proof -- you root for these two to get together.

The supporting characters are a terrific blend of sweet and sassy types. In particular, both kids, Mae Whitman and Alex D. Linz, are adorable, regular-type tots with no gloss of Hollywood sheen. On the adult side, Charles Durning is perfect as Jack's gruff, big-hearted editor, while sports scribe Pete Hamill is creatively cast as a spacey, perceptive land developer.

With his hand expertly on the narrative accelerator, director Michael Hoffman has fashioned a fast-paced, warm-hearted movie. With a frothy mix of wipes and split screens, as well as a keen eye for visual hilarity, Hoffman has cut a near-perfect crystalline comedy.


20th Century Fox

Fox 2000 Pictures presents

a Lynda Obst production

in association with Via Rosa Prods.

A Michael Hoffman film

Producer Lynda Obst

Director Michael Hoffman

Screenwriters Terrel Seltzer, Ellen Simon

Executive producers Kate Guinzburg,

Michelle Pfeiffer

Director of photography Oliver Stapleton

Production design David Gropman

Editor Garth Craven

Co-producer Mary McLaglen

Music James Newton Howard

Costume design Susie DeSanto

Casting Lora Kennedy

Special visual effects by VIFX

VIFX visual effects supervisor

Richard Hollander

Sound mixer Petur Hliddal



Melanie Parker Michelle Pfeiffer

Jack Taylor George Clooney

Maggie Taylor Mae Whitman

Sammy Parker Alex D. Linz

Lew Charles Durning

Yates Jr. Jon Roin Baitz

Elaine Lieberman Ellen Greene

Manny Feldstein Joe Frifasi

Frank Burroughs Pete Hamill

Running time -- 108 minutes

MPAA rating: PG


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