One Fine Day (film)

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One Fine Day
One Fine Day (1996 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Hoffman
Written byTerrel Seltzer
Ellen Simon
Produced byLynda Obst
CinematographyOliver Stapleton
Edited byGarth Craven
Music byJames Newton Howard
Lynda Obst Productions
Via Rosa Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 20, 1996 (1996-12-20)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$97.5 million

One Fine Day is a 1996 American romantic comedy film directed by Michael Hoffman, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney as two single working parents, with Alex D. Linz and Mae Whitman as their children. The title comes from the 1963 song "One Fine Day" by The Chiffons, which is heard in the film.

Michelle Pfeiffer served as an executive producer on the film,[1] which was made in association with her company Via Rosa Productions.[2]

The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song ("For the First Time").


Melanie Parker is an architect and divorced mother to her son, Sammy. Her day gets off to a bad start when she is late to drop him off at school, due to the forgetfulness of fellow divorced father Jack Taylor, a New York Daily News reporter whose daughter, Maggie, is thrust into his care that morning by his former wife who leaves to go on her honeymoon with her new husband. The children arrive just a moment too late to go on a school field trip (a Circle Line boat cruise). Their parents are forced to accept that, on top of hectically busy schedules, they must work together that day to supervise each other's child. In their confusion of sharing a taxi, they accidentally switch cell phones, causing each of them, all morning, to receive calls intended for the other one, which they then have to relay to the right person.

Melanie must make an architectural design presentation to an important client. Jack has to find a source for a scoop on the New York mayor's mob connections. Sammy causes havoc at Melanie's office with toy cars, causing her to trip and break her scale model display. In frustration, she takes him to a day care center (which is having a "Superhero Day"), where she coincidentally comes across Jack trying to convince Maggie to stay and behave herself. They create impromptu costumes for the children, using his imagination and her resourcefulness. She takes her model to a shop to get it quickly repaired. Having left for a meeting, she panics when she receives a phone call from Sammy about another child having a psychedelic drug. She phones Jack in desperation and asks him to pick up the children. He agrees, on the condition that she take over their care at 3:15 while he chases down a potential news source.

While in Melanie's care, Maggie goes missing from a store, and wanders some distance down a crowded midtown sidewalk. Melanie breaks down in despair at the police station, files a missing child report, and then goes to a mayoral press conference to find Jack. He is notified by the police that Maggie has been found, and makes it to the press conference just barely in time to confront the mayor with his scoop about corruption. He had earlier tracked down its source, just as she was leaving a beauty salon in a limousine. Although they have been antagonistic, Melanie and Jack work together to get the children, by taxi, to a soccer game. She insists that she will have time first to do her presentation to the new clients, despite him protesting that it will make them late for the game. She begins her pitch over drinks at the 21 Club lounge, but upon seeing Sammy in high spirits, she realizes that she cares more about him than her job. Bravely insisting that she must leave immediately to be with him, she fully expects to be fired, yet the clients are impressed.

At the game, Melanie meets her former husband, Eddie, who is a musician and who admits that he lied to Sammy about taking him fishing in the summer and that he will be going on tour as a drummer with Bruce Springsteen instead. That evening, Jack wants a reason to visit Melanie's apartment, so he takes Maggie to buy goldfish to replace the ones that were eaten earlier in the day by a cat. At Melanie's apartment, the children watch The Wizard of Oz while she and Jack share a first kiss. She goes to the bathroom to freshen up; when she returns, an exhausted Jack is asleep on the sofa. She joins him and they fall asleep together, with the children happily observing.



Clooney's character did not exist in the script's original draft. Producer Lynda Obst explained the change: "We were being incredibly sexist. There are plenty of divorced, single working fathers going through the exact same thing." The studios initially wanted Kevin Costner or Tom Cruise to portray Jack Taylor but they passed and Clooney ultimately received the part. The film was shot in 44 Manhattan locations.[3]


Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 51% based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating a mixed critical reception.[4] It was considered a commercial disappointment by Twentieth Century Fox.[5]

Janet Maslin in The New York Times wrote: "A 50's romp with a few glaring 90's touches (dueling cellular phones, frazzled single parents), One Fine Day makes for sunny, pleasant fluff. Both stars are enjoyably breezy, and there's enough chemistry to deflect attention from the story's endless contrivances... he's [Clooney] such a natural as a movie star that he hardly needs false flattery. Ms Pfeiffer, meanwhile, shows a flair for physical comedy."[6]

Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "'Cinema is the history of boys photographing girls.' Or so Jean-Luc Godard is claimed to have said. I thought of his words while watching One Fine Day, an uninspired formula movie with another fine performance by Michelle Pfeiffer. She does everything in this movie that a much better movie would have required from her, but the screenplay lets her down... Pfeiffer looks, acts and sounds wonderful throughout all of this, and George Clooney is perfectly serviceable as a romantic lead, sort of a Mel Gibson lite. I liked them. I wanted them to get together. I wanted them to live happily ever after. The sooner the better."[7]

Rita Kempley in The Washington Post wrote: "Director Michael Hoffman, whose idiosyncratic portfolio includes the period comedy Restoration and the spoof Soapdish, sets a mellow pace and alternates old-fashioned split screen with crosscutting to enliven the many phone scenes. If the stars don't click, of course, nothing else matters. Happily, Pfeiffer and Clooney, now officially a movie star, not only click, they send off sparks."[8]

Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times wrote: "One Fine Day is fortunate in its casting. Not only does it have Michelle Pfeiffer, whose gift for this kind of business was visible as far back as Married to the Mob and The Fabulous Baker Boys, but it marks the emergence of George Clooney as a major romantic star... Still, despite feeling like its moments have been micro-managed for maximum audience response, One Fine Day often passes for a pleasant diversion. But with actors so suited to each other, it's too bad the film didn't give them more original material to work with."[9]

Edward Guthmann in the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "We've seen it before, but Pfeiffer and Clooney do everything in their power to make it seem fresh and delightful. That's ultimately not enough, and even though the stars have some chemistry and Pfeiffer delivers her usual spotless performance, One Fine Day never manages to be more than a harmless, forgettable time-filler."[10]

Rob Nelson in the Boston Phoenix wrote: "Privilege and coincidence have always been central to screwball comedy, but the speed of crosstown travel here rivals Die Hard 3 for plausibility. And it's these convenient shortcuts that waylay the film from examining the condition it purports to critique: that is, the '90s compulsion to drive at full throttle."[11]


The featured song 'For the First Time', written by James Newton Howard, Jud Friedman and Allan Dennis Rich, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture or Television.[12]

Michelle Pfeiffer won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy/Romance, and was nominated for a Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actress.[12]

Mae Whitman and Alex D. Linz were both nominated for Young Artist Awards in the categories of Best Performance in a Feature Film – Actress/Actor Age Ten or Under. Whitman won.[12]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


One Fine Day:
Music From The Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedDecember 10, 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars link

One Fine Day: Music From The Motion Picture is the soundtrack for the film. The album peaked at # 57 on The Billboard 200 in 1997.

Track listing[edit]

1."One Fine Day"Natalie Merchant2:45
2."The Boy from New York City"
  • George Davis
  • John T. Taylor
The Ad Libs3:01
3."For the First Time"
Kenny Loggins4:30
4."Mama Said"The Shirelles2:09
5."Someone Like You"Van MorrisonShawn Colvin4:11
6."Love's Funny That Way"Tina Arena4:37
7."Have I Told You Lately"Van MorrisonVan Morrison4:20
8."The Glory of Love"William HillKeb' Mo'2:58
9."What a Diff'rence a Day Made"Tony Bennett2:28
10."Isn't It Romantic?"Ella Fitzgerald3:02
11."This Guy's in Love with You"Harry Connick Jr.3:48
12."Just like You"
Keb' Mo'3:28
13."One Fine Day"
  • Carole King
  • Gerry Goffin
The Chiffons2:10
14."Suite From One Fine Day"James Newton HowardJames Newton Howard8:55
Total length:52:22


  1. ^ "One Fine Day (1996) – Full cast and crew". Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  2. ^ "One Fine Day (1996) – Company credits". Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  3. ^ Hruska, Bronwen (December 18, 1996). "Working Parents' Travail Informs 'One Fine Day'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  4. ^ "One Fine Day", Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2021-04-03.
  5. ^ Shaw, Jessica. "Pop Culture News: Christmas Wrap-Up", Entertainment Weekly, 1997-01-10. Retrieved on 2008-02-17.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 20, 1996). "Movie Review – One Fine Day – Meet. Fight. Fall in Love. What a Day!".
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 20, 1996). "One Fine Day :: :: Reviews".
  8. ^ Kempley, Rita (December 20, 1996). "A Sweet 'One Fine Day'".
  9. ^ Turan, Kenneth (December 20, 1996). "One Fine Day – MOVIE REVIEW – Los Angeles Times".
  10. ^ Guthmann, Edward (December 20, 1996). "'One Fine Day' Is Forgettable Fun".
  11. ^ Nelson, Rob (December 19, 1996). "Archives 1996". Archived from the original on 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  12. ^ a b c "One Fine Day (1996) – Awards". Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  13. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.

External links[edit]