Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Movie Log: One Fine Day

About twelve years ago, The Wife and I were in New York for something-or-other -- probably seeing a movie at the Film Forum, back when "art-house" movies didn't make it out into the suburbs and we were young and free -- and there was a movie being filmed up the block. We hung around a bit, hoping to see George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, but I don't recall that we did -- just a bunch of kids in Halloween costumes.

The movie was One Fine Day, and, somehow, we never bothered to see it when it came out, or for a decade afterward. We finally fixed that on a recent Friday night. (Oh the thrills of long-time married life! A "date" is sitting in the living room on a Friday night watching an old movie and yelling up the stairs for the kids to settle down and go to sleep.)

One Fine Day is another movie that definitely has a formula. I won't say that it transcends that formula, but maybe I should call it more of a recipe: it uses the expected elements in pretty much the expected ways, but is baked just the right length of time and comes out quite tasty and sweet.

Clooney and Pfeiffer are both single parents, he of a girl and she of a boy. The kids are in the same class -- kindergarten, I assume, given their ages -- but the parents haven't met before. Due to some frivolous horseplay of Clooney's, both kids miss their class trip, and are their parents' responsibility all day. (The trip the kids missed was on the Circle Line, which made me question the movie. Sure, it could be some kind of fancy all-day charter, but the typical Circle Line cruise -- even the all-the-way-around-Manhattan trip, which I've taken -- is generally only about two hours long. Those kids should be back in school by lunchtime...but, then, we'd have no movie!)

But both of them are in for busy days, with little time for babysitting:

Clooney is a reporter whose corruption scoop is coming unglued -- there's going to be a late-in-the-day press conference by the guy he claimed was dirty, and the paper will have to run a retraction (and Clooney will be fired), if he doesn't have back-up by then.

Pfeiffer works for an architecture firm, and has a major presentation that day, because in a movie like this someone has to be frantic about "the {somebody} account."

So they reluctantly (on her part much more than his -- she's the tight-ass, buttoned-up career woman, he's the fun-loving laid-back guy) trade kids back and forth, bouncing around New York City as they day goes on. They start off mostly disliking each other, but you know that can't last, can it?

One Fine Day is a slightly nonstandard romantic comedy, centered on a couple of smart, attractive people who do interesting things and can talk well about it, which makes it a great pleasure to watch, (Clooney in particular is one of the great talkers of modern cinema -- there are actors who do a lot of their work silently, but Clooney's not one of them; he's at his best when he's got two or three pages of dialogue to run through.)

New York is also close to being the third major character of the movie; nearly all of it was filmed on location, and I bet you could map this movie pretty easily.

I doubt One Fine Day is going to hit anyone's list of the greatest movies of all time, but it's a great date movie -- from a first date, to married-for-fifteen-years-and-watching-it-on-DVD. That's all good.


Janet Reid said...

Not the best movie of all time, and certainly no where near Out of Sight with George Clooney and JLo (before she was JLo!).

The sexiest scene ever is when he leans into her and says quietly, "I know your name." Utter melt.

And he has the daughter, she the son, although that makes no difference in your comments and only proves I've seen this movie way too often!

Andrew Wheeler said...

Janet: You're absolutely right on the kids; I meant it the other way around, but typed it wrong. (And I've just now fixed it.)

Paul S said...

Pfeiffer and Clooney make a dream team with their strong chemistry and flair for comedy, although watching them it saddens me a little that they don’t make light-hearted if predictable fair like this any more. It's all good.
One Fine Day is proof you don’t need overt sexual references and bad language to create an innocent romantic comedy.

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