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One Fine Day(1996)
Melanie Parker is juggling single parenthood with a career as an architect. Jack Taylor is a commitment-shy newspaper columnist who only has his daughter every other weekend. When their kids miss a school field trip, Melanie and Jack agree to take shifts babysitting for the day.
For more about One Fine Day and the One Fine Day Blu-ray release, see One Fine Day Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 12, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney, Mae Whitman, Charles Durning
Director: Michael Hoffman
» See full cast & crew
One Fine Day Blu-ray Review
Whose definition of "fine" are we using?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 12, 2013
Most of you who watch even a little bit of television have no doubt heard of (or probably even watched) ER, but are you similarly aware of E/R? Now that distinction is not merely some typographically picayune differentiation, for there were indeed two shows with more or less the same title. ER, bearing the imprimatur of former doctor and best selling author Michael Crichton, premiered in 1994 and ran for an astounding fifteen years, becoming one of the longest running medically themed series in the history of television. E/R, on the other hand, debuted in 1984 with little more than star Elliot Gould to put it on the map, and despite coming out of the gate very strongly in its opening couple of weeks, quickly faded, unable to compete with a little show known as The A Team, and ultimately being canceled after only one season. E/R was a rather sharply written sitcom, and it in fact was one of my favorite series that year. It followed in the footsteps of other ensemble comedies set in various work settings, like Night Court which had debuted as a midseason replacement in January 1984, nine months before E/R's debut. As with most of these work themed series, there was a large and colorful supporting cast, including such wonderful character actors as Jason Alexander, Conchata Farrell and Lynne Moody. A lesser known actress named Shuko Akune delivered what has become one of the few elements of the series to enter the popular lexicon, her frequently shouted admonition to "Stay in back of the white line!" Way down in the cast of characters was a good looking young intern who wandered in and out of several episodes, a man named "Ace" Kolmar. Playing that role was a then unknown actor named George Clooney. Of course the gentle irony here is that Clooney would erupt into true mainstream star status a decade or so later when he starred in that "other" ER. But for fans who had only known him in the Crichton ER, unaware of his earlier comedic efforts in E/R (or other sitcoms like Roseanne), his affable work in the middling rom-com One Fine Day might have come as something of a surprise.
There's something immediately problematic about a film that titles itself after a long ago hit song, in this case The Chiffons' 1963 blockbuster (updated to a jazz chanteuse version by Natalie Merchant for the film). It's lazy marketing at best, calculated mendacity at worst, and it gives any film that follows this gambit a prefab feeling from the get go. And in fact One Fine Day does suffer from a certain cut and paste quality that hampers far too many romantic comedies. We have two harried single parents, Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer), a workaholic architect, and Jack Taylor (George Clooney), and kind of disheveled reporter (is there any other kind?), who through the sort of domino effect that only ever happens in romantic comedies are forced to band together for, well, "one fine day" in order to parent each other's children as well as meet their work obligations. The set up if formulaic by its very nature, and One Fine Day does little to break out of that mold (some might even call it a rut).
One Fine Day is a film that is built out of a number of contrivances. The first of these is that we have two single parents, a father (Jack) with an adorable daughter Maggie (Mae Whitman), and a mother (Melanie) with a hyperactive son Sammy (Alex D. Linz). (This is kind of like The Brady Bunch via China's "one child" policy.) The second of these is that Melanie happens to be Jack's ex-wife's neighbor and is slated to take Maggie to school the day of the film. The third of these is that Jack's ex-wife shows up on Jack's doorstep with Maggie in tow early that morning, desperate to leave on her honeymoon with her new husband but panicked because her babysitting options have all not panned out. In a laundry list of things to do and people to contact, the ex-wife tells Jack that Melanie is slated to take Maggie to school for a long planned for field trip and to make sure to let her know if he doesn't want Melanie to do that. Guess what happens?
So, Jack being the kind of laid back "go with the flow" sort of guy he is, of course does not call Melanie, and Melanie meanwhile has her own challenges that morning, leading to both parents showing up at the school too late to get their kids off to the field trip. What to do? Melanie has an all important, career changing presentation to do and Jack is hot on the trail of the biggest story of his career. Contrivance, contrivance, contrivance. After a couple of halting early skirmishes, the two parents reach a sort of détente whereby Jack agrees to watch both kids while Melanie does her presentation and Melanie will return the favor so that Jack can head off certain disaster that's brewing with regard to a recent story he's published, something that has a five o'clock deadline, when a press conference is being called.
I am the parent of two boys and let me just go on record as stating that though I am a relatively laissez faire Dad, if either of my kids acted the way the kids in the film do, they'd be duct taped and zip tied to their chairs like that unruly Icelandic Air passenger whose picture went viral a couple of weeks ago. Maggie has a tendency to wander away and play "hide and seek", leading to disastrous consequences about midway through the film, and little Sammy is desperately in need of Adderall, or whatever the going ADHD prescription was back in 1996. The kid is all over the place, wreaking havoc wherever he goes, and though Melanie ultimately does lose it with him, she then more or less apologizes, telling the little disaster magnet that it's not his fault. Yes, yes it is.
Aside from that perhaps tangential qualm, while the rest of One Fine Day is predictable almost to a tee, it's not unenjoyable. There's a certain retro feel to the piece, including copious use of split screens while various people are on (hilariously oversized) cell phones and the like, making the film play like an updated version of Pillow Talk. In fact it's not hard to imagine this film as a fifties feature with Rock and Doris, hating each other at first sight and then of course falling madly in love. In the world of rom-com, some things never change.
One Fine Day Blu-ray, Video Quality
One Fine Day is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. The film isn't particularly pretty (aside from Michelle Pfeiffer for the guys and George Clooney for the gals), and a lot of the film is kind of drab looking, with overcast skies and a lack of real "pop" to any of the visuals. The lack of bright primaries, aside from a few exceptions like some of the apparel, gives the film a middling appearance that this Blu-ray really can't do much to improve. Fine detail is acceptably sharp in close-ups, but the bulk of this film looks surprisingly soft a lot of the time. Contrast is decent, but to my taste could have provided more differentiation. Colors are accurate and reasonably robust, but the look of this high definition presentation doesn't quite come up to the standards of the other late nineties rom-com Fox released the same week, French Kiss.
One Fine Day Blu-ray, Audio Quality
One Fine Day's loss DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix sounds fine if not particularly amazing, doing very well in the busy urban settings but also providing some good spatial differentiation even in quieter scenes. The dialogue is anchored in the front channels exclusively, though there's some nice stereo separation when we have the split screen effects. There are one or two nice foley effects the very smartly use surround activity (Sammy and an errant toy car being one of them). James Newton Howard's score as well as a lot of the source cues sound really good and help to fill out the surround channels quite nicely. Fidelity is very good while dynamic range is fairly narrow, as should be expected for this kind of film.
One Fine Day Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
One Fine Day Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
One Fine Day is passable, getting by largely on the charisma and chemistry of Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney, but at its core, the film is a kind of tired rehash of every other rom-com with "meant to be" lovers who can't stand each other in the early going. The film has a few too many coincidences, manufactured crises and other contrivances for its own good, but it's good natured and generally quite sweet. This Blu-ray has okay video quality and good sounding audio. Fans of the film will probably want to check out this release, while others may want to consider a rental, especially considering the already crowded field in this genre.
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