One Fine Day

on December 20, 1996 by Kim Williamson
   "I have a dark chocolate layer," says curmudgeonly newspaper columnist Jack Taylor ("From Dusk Till Dawn's" George Clooney) to his psychiatrist. And why shouldn't he feel dark: his ex-wife is off a new honeymoon, he's left to uncomfortably care for their five-year-old daughter Maggie (Mae Whitman), and Jack will soon learn he'll be fired if he doesn't find new corroboration for his printed allegations against City Hall. But audiences of this Fox 2000 production well know that there's sweet chocolate in him too--and so eventually too does single mom Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer), a struggling architect who in "One Fine Day's" 18-hour narrative span struggles to complete a new building plan, parent her five-year-old son (Alex D. Linz) and ultimately decide whether the not-so-cutely-met Jack is a nightmare or the man of her dreams.
   Fox made a bold move to advance "One Fine Day's" planned 1997 opening into the crowded Christmas window, but it's likely to pay off with not only female and date-night audiences but with marrieds as well. Director Michael Hoffman, who failed to get the tone right in his most recent "Restoration," here weaves together laughs and love as if making a pleasing taffy, ably assisted by a script by Terrel Seltzer ("Chan Is Missing") and Ellen Simon ("Moonlight & Valentino") that continually draws its two leads together for comic contretemps--Jack and Melanie continually bicker like in '40s films--and the gradual rise of irresistible romance. Clooney, a longtime actor whose career finally grew hot with TV's hit "E.R.," proves that he has the charm to hold the big screen even when sharing that silver with a seasoned knockout like Pfeiffer. Although the film doesn't challenge Pfeiffer the way the likes of "Love Field," "Dangerous Liaisons" and "The Russia House" did, "One Fine Day" has an enchantment that raises it above programmer status, and its yuletide run should be bright. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. Directed by Michael Hoffman. Written by Terrel Seltzer and Ellen Simon. Produced by Lynda Obst. A Fox release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG for language and mild sensuality. Running time: 109 min. Opens 12/20 wide
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