George Clooney

George Clooney by Mark Browning Read Free Book Online

Book: George Clooney by Mark Browning Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Browning
Day
(Michael Hoffman, 1996)
Jack:
Guess what? I’m not like every other man you know.
    One Fine Day
follows Jack Taylor (George Clooney) and Melanie Parks (Michelle Pfeiffer) across a supposedly average day in New York, trying to juggle the stresses of demanding jobs, journalist and architect respectively, with the difficulties of looking after Jack’s son, Sammy (Alex D. Linz), and Melanie’s daughter, Maggie (Mae Whitman).
    Conventionally, romantic comedy works by juxtaposing unfamiliar elements, bringing characters together who might not usually meet. The problem here is that the script spends much of its energy in keeping the protagonists apart. The film is an exercise in crosscutting to the point where all we see is frenzied attempts to meet deadlines that have no dramatic weight. The “will they, won’t they” is strung out for the length of the entire film, by which time we may feel that the pressure of generic predictability weighs far too heavily.
    The fractured nature of the narrative means that the two leads maintain the presence of the other by talking about them to a third party (Jack to his boss and Melanie to her mother). The means by which the pair are kept separated but supposedly in the minds of one another (and the viewer) become increasingly contrived, not just swapping childrenat points but also (accidentally) mobile phones so that they have to take and pass on messages for one another, literally dipping into the lives of the other for a day. Jack’s carrying of the goldfish bowl becomes a physical representation of the burden of looking after children, and although the fish are eaten by a cat later, he cares enough to get some more and take them around to Melanie’s flat (although by that stage the fish are a thinly veiled justification for seeing her). In the run-up to their first meeting at the locked door of the school, they are placed increasingly closer to the point where they almost inhabit the same scene as she bobs down to tie Sammy’s laces and he walks behind her, out of shot with Maggie. The pair tries to use each other’s children as sources of information to see how serious the other person is about potential emotional involvement.
    The character of Jack is straining after an Everyman significance, which it struggles to carry off convincingly. When he claims “I’m sick of resentful … fish, who think that you owe them but who won’t trust you for a second to do anything for them,” the potential seriousness of his role as a spokesperson for modern man is undermined by his position on a couch, his choice of metaphor, and the fact that we are looking at George Clooney, twice voted the world’s sexiest man. Lines of dialogue like Melanie’s “That’s a totally ex-husband thing to do” countered by Jack’s “Well, you would know because that’s a totally ex-wife reaction,” clearly echo one another but never reach the wit or even fun in language taken by Walter Burns (Cary Grant) and Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) in
His Girl Friday
(Howard Hawks, 1940) or other screwball comedies, which this film dimly resembles.
    Initially, Sammy and Maggie echo their parents’ animosity, pulling faces at each other in the taxi, but predictably over the course of the film they act as catalysts to bring them together. It is the search for Maggie, who wanders off after a kitten, and Sammy’s soccer game that bring into sharp focus Jack’s qualities as a parent, particularly in contrast with Melanie’s largely absent ex-partner. At the denouement, the seal of approval for the implied future relationship of Jack and Melanie comes from the children coming into the room, where the adults are eventually at ease with one another sufficiently to fall asleep on the couch together.
    The sense of a divided screen is present in the vertical wipes used as transition devices and the shot composition, like in the

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