Tag Archives: Addicted to Love

The Sun Sets on a Summer of Screwball

I’ve been feeling a little listless lately, saying goodbye to summer makes me feel nostalgic, and if I’m nostalgic for anything, it’s for a time when I was more excited about the films I’ve been watching.The other night I had a dream that I was watching One Fine Day. Or maybe I dreamt that I was actually in One Fine Day. Walking down 6th Avenue to a New York movie retrospective at Radio City Music Hall; a double feature of Addicted to Love and One Fine Day.I’ve no idea why I can’t dream that I’m in something directed by Howard Hawks or maybe a Kurosawa film where I understand Japanese, but they were the two films paired together.Both these films move in Howard Hawks’s territory, but One Fine Day isn’t just Addicted to Love through a Hawksian lens; the emotional baggage of Clooney and Pfeiffer’s characters’ is transformed literally into physical baggage, in the shape of their children, demanding jobs, cell phones and transportation hassles.If it were exclusively a screwball comedy; playing its protagonists for laughs involving romantic misunderstandings and revolving doors, One Fine Day might have worked even better and yet meet cutes like this have been fuelling romantic comedies since time immemorial, and so we go along for the ride.Clooney’s performance as Jack Taylor is the closest he ever came to the elusive Cary Grant vibe. He’s effortlessly charismatic, with timing beyond the pale. The best part of the film though is Michelle, tailored like a classic Hawks dame and with enough panache for five movies. When I think of the Hawksian Woman and everything that means, Pfeiffer always come to mind.Jack Taylor refers to Melanie as ‘the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen’. She may have been, but she’s much more as well. The range of octaves her voice covers, the razor-sharp wit she exudes and those comic expressions would have made her the sovereign of studio-era screwballs.So far so Hawksian. Watching One Fine Day my mind couldn’t help from wandering off into the degrees of separation games I often play. George Clooney’s daughter was named Maggie, I imagine in honour of my favourite Maggie of them all? Played by Meg Ryan of course.What does it say about the nineties that screwball comedy was briefly in fashion again? The spirit of Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck walking the streets of Manhattan, in the form of Ryan’s Maggie and Michelle’s Melanie.By contrast to Pfeiffer’s frazzled femme de tête, Ryan’s Maggie radiates “Hell hath no fury.” More of a tormentor than a temptress, her Bohemian biker chick is just the type of role that Michelle would have nailed. Catwoman resurrected?I’d be too tongue-tied to talk to Maggie if I ever bumped into her and I’m fairly sure she would treat me with complete and utter disdain. Still I can dream, with Maggie serving as a potent cocktail to sustain me during the dog days of August.



Filed under Retrospective