Addicted to Love on One Fine Day

Together again, guest writer Michael C. and host Paul S. match-up a Pfeiffer pfilm and a Meg movie, in dual reviews of Addicted to Love and One Fine Day.

Michael C: The classic screwball romantic comedy, when done right, is beautiful to behold. In 1996, established superstar Michelle Pfeiffer starred alongside then-rising Hollywood hunk George Clooney in the charming and delightful One Fine Day. When mentioning Pfeiffer’s best work, this film isn’t often named, but it deserves to be. Certainly, it’s a light, frothy affair, which might lead some to dismiss it as unworthy. That would be a mistake, as Pfeiffer is simply radiant in a memorably sublime performance.Paul S: Watching One Fine Day may give you some idea of the sort of enjoyably lightweight entertainment that Meg Ryan provides in Addicted to Love. Where the Pfeiffer film is a light and frothy flirtation, the Meg movie is a sexy celebration of Maggie; a character straight from Fantasy Casting’s Bodacious Babe Department. Meg makes funny and sexy seem like the same thing. You’d better put on the safety goggles, because Ryan has never been more radiant. Woah, Maggie’s giving me heart palpitations. Michael, let me calm down a while.Michael C: It’s an utter joy to be in Pfeiffer’s and Clooney’s company here, tagging along as they make their way through one exceptionally frenzied day in the lives of two busy New Yorkers just trying to wrangle their kids while also doing their jobs. You know, just the usual adulting stuff, really. Throw into the mix that Pfeiffer’s single mom Melanie Parker and Clooney’s single dad Jack Taylor keep intersecting with each other throughout the day—while also passing their kids off to one another at different points—and that the actors have terrific chemistry, well then you have the ingredients for a truly exceptional rom-com.Paul S: In Addicted to Love, the dark, nocturnal streets of Greenwich Village provide a beautiful and slightly sinister backdrop to a dark tale of jilted lovers. Photographer Maggie (Meg Ryan) and astronomer Sam (Matthew Broderick) cross paths when they discover that their former flames are now living together. Sam hopes to win back the affections of hs hometown sweetheart, but Maggie’s only intention is to see her former lover Anton “in pain, hopeless and finished off. Billed as “a comedy about lost loves” director Griffin Dunne takes a romantic formula, turns it inside out, and adds a wild card in the character of Maggie.Michael C: One Fine Day throws a series of endless contrivances at the two leads, and both actors handle them with nimble grace and aplomb. Pfeiffer especially is pure white gold here, all eye rolls and snappy retorts, exhaustion and exasperation. She’s the classic romantic female lead updated to the then-modern age, complete with such ’90s accoutrements as a permanently frazzled personality and a hilariously oversized cell phone. It’s easily one of her very best comedic performances, ranking close to her astonishing comic excellence in 1988’s Married to the Mob. As in that film, she handles physical comedy beautifully, while also exuding a real warmth and magnetic charisma. She takes what could be a tired archetype—the Type A woman and all of the cliches that entails—and creates a complex and fully dimensional woman, one that any parent or working professional can easily relate to.Paul S: The words you wrote about Michelle were the words I had in my mind to write before Meg Ryan’s Maggie took me somewhere else. I did try to write some schmaltzy paragraph to summarize it but your prose is really beyond my reach. You write better than I can even write in my dreams.  If One Fine Day is a bit formulaic and Ephron-ized then Michelle is authentic and authentic. Maggie, on the other hand was such an attention-getter, the hair, the face, the eyebrows, that body. Poured into a tie-dye dress that offers her breasts, like a gift from the movie gods, Maggie had the power to reduce a man to a heap of helpless desire. It’s the same as the effect Michelle explored, when she stripped down to her bra (twice) in One Fine Day. Talk about a movie knowing it’s main selling point!
Michael C: The film also contains a stellar example of the legendary Pfeiffer cool. At one point she has to squeeze into her kid’s goofy dinosaur t-shirt. Even in such silly attire, she remains the coolest person on the planet, easily.Paul S: Back and forth, forth and back I go, greatness of cinema to greatness of cinema. Sam & Maggie. Melanie & Jack. Meg & Michelle. This, of course, begs the question, who’s cooler, who’s hotter. Who knows? Who could choose?

10 Comments

Filed under Dual review, Retrospective

10 responses to “Addicted to Love on One Fine Day

  1. Great collaborative post 🙂 You and Michael’s thoughts on these films are truly inspired. Now here is my question to you and Michael: how would both of you cast Pfeiffer and Ryan in a Mike Leigh film, even though we probably have talked about this before? 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Thanks John. If this post seems incoherent it’s all my fault. I probably shouldn’t have rushed to finish it in time for Meg’s birthday. As for Mike Leigh, I’m so sorry but I still haven’t seen many of his films. I was browsing your post on him earlier today looking for ideas, although I’m still not sure where to start. I appreciate your interest and your thoughtful comments as always.

      • Fair enough, how about this question then: how would you and Michael cast Abigail’s Party regarding the choices of Pfeiffer and Ryan? 🙂

        • Ooh that’s tough. I’ll go for Pfeiffer as Abigail, Ryan as Angela Cooper.

          • RB

            Yes, I think you have the essential point nailed, as usual. Maggie is something intriguing, something creative, that doesn’t quite add up to a real human whereas Melanie COULD BE someone in the audience.
            This is why despite Matthew Broderick being one of my favorite actors forever, I wasn’t smitten with Addicted to Love.

  2. Michael

    Beautiful, Paul! As always, thank you. I’m sorry I missed Meg’s birthday during my self-imposed internet exile. One of these years I’m going to write about Joe Vs. the Volcano (my favorite Meg performance) in time for her b-day. And just looking at stills from One Fine Day has me swooning all over the place. Michelle has rarely ever looked more radiant onscreen, which is really saying something because she always radiates. *swoon*

    • You’re welcome, and don’t worry about Meg’s birthday your contribution to this post is more than enough for me. I’m glad you approve of the stills from One Fine Day, even in her son’s dinosaur t-shirt Pfeiffer is still looking better than 99% of humanity. I’ll have a little swoon over Meg Ryan too. To paraphrase something you once wrote, in that miniskirt or sexy tie dye dress, she also dials the heat up to near-unbearable levels.

  3. Paul…who‘s cooler??? Definitely a tie.

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