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One Fine Day
Starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney
Directed by Michael Hoffman

There are two sobering thoughts I'd like to share with you about getting old. First, all those flicks you adored as a teen just aren't much fun anymore. Second, it's a rare flick that is made for the not-a-teen-anymore market. Lastly, and the scariest of the three -- yes, I know I said two but sometimes that means three. I'm old, go with it -- is when a producer makes a movie aimed at us elders but cuts it together with the speed of an eighteen-wheeler speeding down a mountain with no brakes.

In this case, we're talking about an avalanche of a story called One Fine Day.

We begin with architectural designer and single mother Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer). A generic Super Mom type, Melanie has a whiny boy kidlet of about five, named Sammy (Alex D. Linz). He whines because, despite the big red "S" she'd like to wear on her chest, he is denied nothing. He is rarely spoken sharply to. Almost every desire, from toys to food, can be found inside mom's "Felix the Cat" type bag. What is in that bag sets up some very amusing points, but that kid'll make you want to yell at his mom "Discipline the runt!"

But I'm still single. What do I know?

The other side of the coin is Daily News columnist Jack Taylor (George Clooney). He is too good at stirring up a political hornets' nest to know much about raising a too-smart-for-five girl kidlet named Maggie (Mae Whitman). Said kidlet is in custody of her mother, but is dumped in papa's lap on no notice when mom gets remarried and flies off for a week-long honeymoon. Both moms live in the same building and know each other. Both kids go to the same school. Clooney causes both kidlets to miss a school field trip, so both parents are stuck. Incompetent dad. More than competent mom. Both, of course, instantly dislike each other. Capping it off is the fact that the kids don't like each other, either. So far so good.

It's an interesting task that this movie takes on. A date movie for single parents, or those of us who are at a parenting age and blessedly aren't burdened with whiny little kids like the one that Pfeiffer has raised. Does it work?

Despite its flaws, yeah, for the most part it does. But not because it's a great flick. Each parent is in the middle of an incredibly important day -- each of their careers is hanging by a thread, and they can't be bothered with caring for kidlets who won't be happy at a local drop-in center (whatever that is).

One Fine Dayruns itself into the ground in the best tradition of what was called "screwball comedy" -- which was a genre that pretty much came and went long before any of us were born. It changes New York locations at breakneck speed. The parents swap the kids back and forth until no one knows what's going on, and the kids follow their nature and wander off. For an extra chuckle, One Fine Day comes up with more ways for a five-year-old to destroy a woman's career, clothing, or life than any of us (other than a determined screenwriter) would care to imagine. Screenwriters Terrel Seltzer and Ellen Simon work so hard to rev up the pace and come up with clever diversions that focus is lost. This is a love story folks. Really.

One Fine Day moves so quickly that I am at a loss to tell you when (or why) these two adults begin to fall for each other. No one else around me could, either, but there is no time to worry about it. Before you know it you are well into the final act of the flick -- the first kiss, that is -- and only at this point do sparks begin to fly between Pfeiffer and Clooney.

That doesn't mean that the first two acts of One Fine Day aren't entertaining, because they are. Knowing how kidlets manipulate or whine or otherwise behave makes some of the jokes easier to understand. There's nothing at all realistic about this thing and, as long as you're not expecting Citizen Kane, that's fine.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to One Fine Day, he would have paid . . .


Hate him. Don't hate him. Or vice versa. If you ever met anyone of either sex that goes through such emotional reversals you'd get away fast. This ain't real. It's a goofy story, and fine only at that.

Click to buy films by Michael Hoffman
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Click to buy films starring George Clooney

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