Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a single mother who is trying to get her son Sammy to school on time to go on his much-anticipated field trip. Jack Taylor (George Clooney) is a divorced dad whose forgetfulness causes Melanie, Sammy, and his own daughter Maggie to get to school late, where they miss the bus taking the kids to the pier where they’re to leave on Circle Line boat cruise. They miss the boat by mere minutes and in the confusion and bickering between Melanie and Jack, cell phones are accidentally switched before the two parents part ways. An architect, Melanie has a huge presentation that day with potential clients. Jack is a reporter who is looking to expose the Mayor’s mob connections and needs a second source to back up his claims when his original source chickens out. Neither are able to find adequate child care so they eventually find a way to help each other out despite their hectic schedules.
This was my first time watching One Fine Day, although I do remember the movie when it came out. Mostly I remember this seemed to be the movie that really solidified Clooney as a romantic lead. I can’t help but wonder if I would have liked this better had I watched it in 1996, or even a few years after. Clooney and Pfeiffer are both incredible actors, and they had some fun chemistry on-screen when they were sharing it. The problem I had with One Fine Day was that it felt a bit disjointed. I found myself a bit bored with Jack and Melanie’s individual issues – her presentation to land important clients, his searching for a source to take down the corrupt Mayor. These plots were obviously necessary to bring a sense of urgency and chaos to Melanie and Jack’s desperate need for childcare, but they were not the least bit interesting to me, so when the movie focused solely on these moments, I found my mind wandering. The pacing of the entire movie felt a bit off although it does try to keep you on track with constant timestamps.
One Fine Day could have benefited from having Clooney and Pfeiffer on screen together more. They spend so much of it arguing with each other, face to face or over the phone that it was difficult for me to accept the sudden change of heart near the end of the film when a few moments of understanding suddenly evolved into bonafide feelings for each other. Once again, this was a case of an uptight, responsible woman needing to loosen up on the rules, and the effortlessly cool but flaky dad with a heart of gold that needs to learn some semblance of responsible parenting and sacrificing for others. I’ve seen it before, and One Fine Day doesn’t bring anything new to those existing tropes.
The truth is, I had a hard time getting invested in the characters. The kids were cute enough, but I wasn’t sure why Melanie and Jack didn’t just take them back to school after missing the boat. Surely there were kids not going on the field trip, surely there was a class for said kids to be in. Then again, if they did that, there would have been no movie, correct? Logic and rational thinking are not always a requirement for a romantic comedy.
I didn’t hate this movie, but I didn’t love it either. It was a decent time waster and a fluffy enough movie to put on in the background while you’re busy doing other stuff. If you watch it for nothing else, watch it for George Clooney’s natural charisma. Even with a lacking script, he makes it look effortless.