Love Amongst the Sleep Deprived

Addicted to Love and One Fine Day are inextricably linked in my mind. Two of the last gasps of a vanishing genre. Both take place in New York, and both feature relationships between seemingly ill-matched couples. I’ve often watched these films as a double bill, in a rather obvious homage to each other, always realising they are far too different to be considered similar at all.Camera ObscuraAddicted to Love is set in Greenwich Village, and the city is treated as another character in this dark tale of jilted lovers Maggie (Meg Ryan) and Sam (Matthew Broderick), whose paths cross when they discover that their ex-partners are now living with each other. Sam hopes to win back the affections of school teacher Linda (Kelly Preston), but Maggie’s only intention is to see former lover Anton (Tcheky Karyo) “in pain, hopeless and finished off.”Anton, Maggie and SamAddicted to Love may appear to function just like any other romantic movie, but you have to dig beneath the facade of this film to find its hidden layer of sweetness and silver linings. Director Griffin Dunne constantly surprises with his careful shot compositions, making the viewer as much of a spy as Ryan and Broderick, who use a camera obscura to observe their former flames, all the while hatching an elaborate plan to avenge their sadly-broken hearts.Maggie in the DarkroomMeg Ryan trades in much of her usual sparkle here to play the abrasive, hard-drinking Maggie, and she was never as killingly beautiful, whether in biking leathers and feather boa, or red velvet jacket topped with a black turban. Travelling the streets of New York on a motorcycle she wears her hair short and unkempt,and a rasping voice is Maggie’s ultimate embellishment, used to wonderful effect to deliver a plethora of risqué lines to the straight-laced Sam.Love-Hate RobberyThere’s never any real doubt about what’s going to eventually happen between this odd couple, and the main question is whether the 100 minutes between the beginning and the foregone conclusion can hold your attention. Addicted To Love delivers in spades, thanks to a healthy dose of clever dialogue and black humour, and a magnetic performance from Meg Ryan as Maggie.Addicted to Love The EndIf you haven’t seen Addicted To Love I’d suggest you take a look at it. At first glance it might resemble When Maggie Met Sam in Soho via Cape Fear, but it did bring some originality to what had become a very predictable genre. If you’re prepared to give love a chance, this film might just surprise you.

One Fine DayIn contrast to the salacious and callous edge of Addicted to Love, Michael Hoffman’s One Fine Day is a captivating delight from beginning to end. It’s the perfect film to pass a wet Sunday evening, as you face the prospect of a brutal Monday morning at work. The formula is all too familiar. Strangers meet in a big city, and share a frisson of attraction. They then spend the rest of the movie resisting their feelings until, in accordance with the bylaws of the Hollywood Cliché Code, love finally conquers all.Gurning Clooney Gorgeous PfeifferDiametrically opposite Maggie and Sam in their “bohemian hellhole,” the bustling Upper East Side of New York is home to Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Jack Taylor (George Clooney), two working single parents who meet-cute when their children miss a school field trip. Jack is a cavalier newspaper columnist, Melanie is a conscientious architectural technician. They’re both late for work, have their bosses breathing down their necks, and are in dire need of somebody to take their children off their hands. So despite their mutual antagonism, they reluctantly agree to join forces.Jack and Melanie, Bethesda FountainAnd so on. One Fine Day is the kind of movie you’ll sing along with, because Michelle Pfeiffer and New York City were never more beautiful. Across a myriad of rain-soaked locations, a wonderful lustre envelopes this film infusing it with a richness and romanticism. Where Addicted to Love is more overtly cerebral and sarcastic in its humour, the verbal sparring between Michelle and George is reminiscent of the legendary couples of Hollywood’s golden age. They’re perfectly matched, and even though it’s a given Jack will eventually sweep Melanie off her feet, the outcome of their liaison isn’t a clichéd moment-of-realisation scene, but a more intellectual accord between two eminently compatible people, who are tired of the tongue-tied multitude.The End“Cinema is the history of boys photographing girls.” Or so Jean-Luc Godard has been quoted as saying. I thought of those words when watching the cool, buttoned-up Melanie Parker and coarsely sensual Maggie again recently. One can only gaze upon their luminous aura and wonder. How did they do that?

53 Comments

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53 responses to “Love Amongst the Sleep Deprived

  1. I’ve not seen Addicted to Love! One Fine Day is cute. Interesting how one links films together.

  2. Evi

    I like One Fine Day more because the premise is a little more realistic and I love Michelle Pfeiffer! Your review decribes my feelings about this movie perfectly.

    I recently re-watched half of Addicted to Love and I was (once again) struck by Meg Ryan’s cuteness, but I just couldn’t empathize with Broderick’s character. In real life he would be a (creepy) stalker. That was a turn-off for me.

    Keep the posts coming, Paul!

    • Thanks Evi. I’ll agree Addicted to Love isn’t the second coming of Rear Window, but it’s great fun watching Meg Ryan suppress her usual mannerisms to do the grunge thing. Matthew Broderick (and Kelly Preston) couldn’t help but come off blandly in comparison.

  3. Hmmm, I love One Fine Day but I’m not sure I enjoyed Addicted to Love as much. Honestly I can’t remember much about it now. I guess I prefer other Meg Ryan’s rom-coms than that one. But One Fine Day is fine indeed, I love it more for Pfeiffer than Clooney though.

    • Ruth my love for One Fine Day is almost entirely down to Pfeiffer!
      Lovely to hear from you.

      • I think Michelle is one of those actresses who are still very watchable even in a bad film. I don’t know if you saw my review of The Family. It’s utterly horrible but I still like seeing her in it, more so than even De Niro.

  4. I remember watching One Fine Day a while ago thinking it was a sweet romance that looked awesome on the screen. It’s always difficult to try and nail down this thing called chemistry. All I know is, in One Fine Day, Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney have got it!

    Meg Ryan is amazing in Addicted to Love! The film fully explores her remarkable range as she portrays a flighty, neurotic, screwball biker chick with a voice straight out of a ’30s Warner Brothers melodrama. An unusually hard-edged variation on Meg’s usual manic pixie persona. :)

  5. I remember seeing both of these in the theatre and it’s hard to say which I like better. Agreed with Paul that they are for different moods entirely.

  6. One Fine Day does hold up very well for reviewings. You summed it up nicely – the relationship between the characters is reminiscent of older movies, and I think this is aided by being dependent on the old standbys, acting, direction and decent screenplay. There is a lot of dialogue, a lot of back-and-forth and it requires quality actors who have no problem memorizing pages upon pages of script. And Michelle does generate the perfect chemistry with George Clooney (a pretty charismatic actor in general). It goes without saying that Clooney is drop dead handsome. He brings a certain charm to the screen in One Fine Day that almost reminds me of George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But Michelle really shines here and is the reason I consider this to be an underrated gem of a movie. One of my favorite scenes was where she was discussing the building model with the architechtural client and the client shook his head saying he needed the see the building with cars in front of it. Single Mom Michelle opens up her handbag and takes out a plastic bag of her son’s minature cars and holds it up, saying simply, “Cars!”

    • Welcome back RB, and thank you for your thoughtful comment. It was a joy to read.
      I never get tired of One Fine Day, in fact I actually watched a bit of it yesterday, while I was doing some screen captures for the site. As if I needed to find any further reason to love this movie, I was taken once again by the way it ends, with Jack and Melanie lying asleep on each other’s shoulders. Maybe they’ll wake up and move on, maybe they’ll snuggle a little closer. Maybe they should’ve made a sequel?

      • Yes indeed. This is one of two movies from the era that just begs for a sequel (the other being You’ve Got Mail). I’d love to see Jack and Melanie today at a different phase of their lives. Both actors still look fabulous and would be dynamite playing the age group. The same can be said for YGM, where Kathleen and Joe also had strong personalities that found common ground. No longer young, but still with that special something they have, that lights up the screen as the stories continue. In fact, considering both movies are set in NYC… how about this. One movie with ALL FOUR.

        • Are you a mind reader? It’s a wonderful idea. A movie about grown-ups, unlike so many modern romantic films where the protagonists seem to be getting younger and younger, and less likeable. Since YGM Tom and Meg have done their best to steer clear of their natural talent for romantic comedies, but I’m sure they could still hold their own opposite George and Michelle, and generate that rare and elusive element all films need: chemistry.
          We’re definitely going to have to bounce around some ideas for a script/synopsis. In the meantime I’m going to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon watching Rear Window on the BBC.

          • rb

            Hi Paul, hope you had a good week. I for one am glad the weekend is here. Yes, I’ve often hoped for a sequel for YGM, but only relatively recently, thought about how that could be a blockbuster combined with One Fine Day. They are all in NYC! Basically, what I think could be captivating is that let’s say Jack, Melanie, Kathleen and Joe have successful careers. We’ve seen that already for all 4 of them. Jack and Melanie’s kids are off to college, Kathleen and Joe have younger children, and the characters cross paths professionally and become friends. The vehicle for that happening wouldn’t be difficult to write. Their friendships evolve along with a realization that they are successful financially but in jobs that are draining the souls out of them. NYC filming could be used to great effect here. In time the two couples discover that chasing money isn’t what life is made of, and they decide to go in together on a totally new venture: they purchase a house on a lake in Canada with a dozen or so little rental cottages and go into business for themselves. Jack and Melanie’s children visit on a break from school and are horrified. Kathleen and Joe’s daughters are enchanted with the surroundings but not the new small school they are attending. Kathleen and Melanie trade in business suits and heels for jeans and sweatshirts as they tackle their new venture, in the most beautiful setting. Everything is different from what they are used to in the city, and I’d love to weave in some representations on what happens to people who find happiness in the world’s natural beauty. If not an original concept, still important, maybe even more so today than decades ago.

            • RB thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Pfabulous, there’s nothing else I can say. You have officially out-Pfeiffer’d me.
              Speaking of beautiful lakeside locations, I’m going on vacation to Lake Como in Italy for a few days next month. If I bump into George Clooney (who has a home there) I’ll be pitching your film to him.
              Have a peaceful Sunday.

              • rb

                I hope George will agree that this concept is overflowing with creative directions. Imagine Kathleen and Joe, who had children later in life than Jack and Melanie, which is a real life scenario. There’s Meg, beautiful but older than the other parents at the elementary school… and the teacher gives a welcome to all the parents on the first day, saying something like “Welcome to all the parents… and grandparents” Cut to scene at beauty shop. Meanwhile… Melanie has a work dispute with a client who wants to save money by cutting corners, Jack becomes disillusioned with the decaying ethics and continual dumbing-down of news providers, Kathleen and Joe who are running Fox Bookstores as a team, become disheartened as the chain becomes less about employees and customers, and more focused on the bottom line. While on a vacation together they discover the property for sale in Canada. The script writes itself!
                Well, enough dreaming, time to do my taxes.
                Hope you have a wonderful vacation!

  7. KG

    One Fine Day is the first movie I ever owned a VCD of. I just love that film, but Addicted to Love scores +1 extra. I believe that Addicted to Love reflects the way that these four very different people react to having their hearts broken. It is so easy to judge people based on how they appear and this movie gives us pause. It’s a beautiful film and one that tries to have a lot to say about film too, if that makes sense.

    • Welcome KG, and thanks for the comment about the VCD.
      One Fine Day tends to slip through the cracks when people think about Michelle Pfeiffer’s career probably because it’s a comedy.

  8. Ah!! the good old days of Romantic comedies. They don’t make those kind anymore. I liked Addicted to Love when I saw it on initial release, mostly for the way it brings that creepy, Vertigo-like infatuation to the genre. It’s clear there’s so much more going on there than in the usual rom-com, so it’s good to see it get some love for that.
    One Fine Day on the other hand is memorable for the lines of the witty banter that seem to be a contemporary update of the back and forth that filled the films of Howard Hawks. Both are excellent films, extremely funny, and utterly romantic.

    • Oh I agree, there seems to be a different vibe with these movies compared to the romantic movies being released now. Back in those days every new Meg Ryan film was an event, and I vividly recall my delight at seeing her immersing herself in a romantic comedy featuring voyeurism, mouldy strawberries, and lipstick wearing monkeys.
      As for One Fine Day it may not be very original, and some of Michelle Pfeiffer’s traits are blatantly lifted from When Harry Met Sally and Broadcast News ; but the performances are charming. This is especially true of George Clooney, and the trademark mannerisms that helped to catapult him into Oscar winning roles are more than evident.

  9. Hey Paul, you haven’t been blogging much have you? Btw Pfeiffer and Clooney make a dream team in One Fine Day. They have such strong chemistry and a flair for comedy, and they just don’t make light-hearted if predictable films like this any more. It’s like a little of the battle of the sexes where they are both attempting to outdo each other and win the best practical parent contest :)

    • Hey Ruth, always a pleasure to hear from you. As you’ve noticed I’ve been taking a break from the blogosphere, and I probably won’t be posting any new content over the summer months.
      I’ll still be around as admin though, and I’ll still leave comments here and there, as and when I’ve got something to say.

  10. Hello again, this has been an interesting movie weekend on American TV. YGM and OFD are playing on several different cable channels. Usually there is nothing to watch – then all the good movies are on at once. Maybe it’s a ratings week or something. It does make me happy that new generations are getting the chance to appreciate the movie gems we love!

    • Hello RB, glad to hear you’re enjoying an interesting movie weekend Stateside.
      With the FIFA World Cup currently in full swing, good films on British TV are almost as rare as new posts on this site, so much so, I’ve been thinking of upgrading my One Fine Day and You’ve Got Mail DVDs to Blu-ray to fill the void. As someone once said they make a great New York double feature since You’ve Got Mail is a love letter to the Upper West Side and One Fine Day pays homage to the Upper East Side.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts again. You’ve made my Sunday morning.

  11. As sappy and unassuming as it was at the box office (or maybe because of that very fact), One Fine Day was one of my favorite movies. I guess I am a sucker for the fairy tale love stores published by Hollywood. Pfeiffer and Clooney complement each other very well in this film and the kids add so much to the story line. I still snort when I think about the object getting lodged in Sammy’s nose ;-) Thanks for the brief trip down memory lane :-)

    • You’re very welcome Dave, and you’re right, it would be a disservice to talk about One Fine Day without mentioning Mae Whitman and Alex D. Linz. Both turn in pleasant performances that really improve the film.
      I get very nostalgic when I think about One Fine Day. It’s so sweet and unforced. Although sometimes I do wish Michael Hoffman and his scriptwriters had given Michelle Pfeiffer one big romantic scene in which to unbutton her special charm, vamping Clooney out of his loafers.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  12. I thought I was the only one who liked Addicted to Love. I must have seen it at least 15 times back in my VHS-renting days. It’s so much fun. I always liked Matthew Broderick in it too, because his particular brand of straitlaced humour seems just as oddball as Meg Ryan’s over-the-top goofiness in the movie.

  13. Hi Paul – Sharing the comment from our earlier “conversation”: It’s funny that at the time of the movie’s release some viewers thought Meg Ryan’s “dark” character was too much of a departure from her usual America’s Sweetheart roles … but for me, that saucy but somewhat wounded character IS my version of America’s Sweetheart – a hurt, wounded soul but rising above – sometimes in negative ways but hopefully at the end an overall positive way — and her hair and wardrobe were PERFECTION. Plus Griffin Dunne’s staging of many of the scenes was so good. There is a scene where Meg Ryan’s character is watching Kelly Preston’s character through the camera obscura – she’s not saying anything, she’s just watching her, almost studying her — but you can almost hear her inner dialogue as clear as a bell — “what does this woman have that I do not? why does Anton love her when he did not love me? was it me or is it just him being incapable of love?” The scene says so much when really it’s just a woman staring at an image reflected on a wall. The genius of the movie is that it is so much more than it seems … or at least it is that way to me ;-) Sometimes the best things show up in the most unexpected places.

    • Welcome Lily and thank you. I find Meg Ryan to be totally beguiling as the vengeful biker chick she portrays in Addicted to Love, but you’re right, it is essential to the enjoyment of the movie that people know and recognize the vulnerable and kind-hearted Meg of other films beneath the black leather and “Project Mayhem” exterior.
      Griffin Dunne does provides an inspired piece of filmmaking with the use of the camera obscura, Sam and Maggie (the astronomer and the photographer) see the world literally refracted through lenses and through their ideas of what love is and how their lovers should respond to them. Kelly Preston is as radiant as a silent film star in those obscura moments, but she’s bland and colourless next to Maggie, the perfect Greenwich Village vision of a woman scorned. I think Maggie’s wardrobe perfectly matches the tone of the film, and it’s great fun to watch Meg cut loose wearing her tie-dye dress, flying goggles and a feather boa.
      The only downside of Maggie’s charisma is that it makes me wonder why Sam is pining for Linda across the street when he’s sharing his “bohemian hellhole” with someone so much more exciting.
      Thanks for responding!

      • The reference to “Project Mayhem” exterior made me laugh – an apt description! I like the theme of a camera being both invasive but also showing the true nature — think about the spying/voyeuristicness of the camera obscura as compared to the prints taken from Maggie’s grandmother’s camera. The “spy”/surveillance scenes of Linda and Anton seem to be about showing Sam and Maggie what they can never have — Linda is more free and passionate with Anton then she ever was with Sam and Anton is in love with Linda whereas he never truly loved Maggie. But then you have Maggie’s grandmother’s photos of Sam and Maggie – capturing the affection and budding love that Sam and Maggie do not even truly realize is occurring. So you have the camera obscura showing them what they can never have and the photographic camera showing them what they have and yet do not realize they have. Lots of themes running throughout the movie that would make a college English student very happy to write about …

        • After years of hearing people dismiss Addicted to Love as just another romantic movie, I’m itching to immerse myself once again in its crazy world of voyeurism, mouldy strawberries, and lipstick-wearing monkeys. Although its set-up is superficially similar to Rear Window, Addicted to Love leans closer to Vertigo as it turns its tropes inside-out, looking for the human reality beneath the clichés.
          One interesting thing that did occur to me is that the only product-placement in Addicted to Love is Meg Ryan’s Leica M-series camera — as stylish and elegant an object as you’ll ever find. It is symbolic of the films own smooth elegance.

          • I find that Griffin Dunne shares his Father’s ability to see both the large actions as well as the small nuances in human inter-relations and he uses a subtle touch throughout … I think some people dismiss the movie as a dark comedy that isn’t dark enough or a romantic comedy that isn’t light enough … but there’s so much more to this film than all that! ;-)

            • I hadn’t realised Dominick Dunne was Griffin Dunne’s father. I also hadn’t realised that it is he who makes a cameo appearance in Addicted to Love as the food critic who accidentally eats a cockroach in Anton’s restaurant.
              This film just gets better and better!

  14. One Fine Day is without a doubt one of my favorite movies. Granted I have a lot of favorite movies, but this one would be in my top ten. Sure One Fine Day is predictable, just as the screwball comedies of classical Hollywood cinema were predictable, but who can resist a handsome George Clooney, a drop dead gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer, a couple of cute kids, and some truly funny and adorable scenes?
    George and Michelle were perhaps the most beautiful couple in the world, but the fact that these lonely and scared singles thought about trying again gave hope to the rest of us, and brought a tangible element of pathos amidst One Fine Day‘s high spirited energy and perfect sense of timing.

    • Welcome Tammi and sorry I almost missed your comment, lost as it was amidst the sea of love for Addicted to Love!
      Addicted to Love may have set the gold standard, but One Fine Day provides its own little slice of underrated cinematic heaven.

  15. Out of the two I’ve only seen Addicted to Love, and I’m really sad to say that I hadn’t even HEARD of One Fine Day *hangs head in shame*. Now I gotta get my hands on this movie because Pfeiffer and Clooney in one movie should be amazing :D Great to see your take on these two films!

    • Welcome Rabiah. One Fine Day is an unjustly forgotten film, a fine example of a modern romantic movie tailored according to the old school classics.

  16. I liked Addicted to Love.

    But I absolutely loved One Fine Day.

    Addicted to Love was, y’know, a bit crazy and very watchable and a lot of fun. But it was just another movie, to me.

    One Fine Day– well, it’s the fantasy, isn’t it? That your horrible day turned into magic. That we get to fall in love with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer.

    And that it can all happen in one day.

    Films like this keep us breathing, keep us hoping.

    And Pfeiffer has never been more gorgeous. I am so in love with her in this movie.

    Great to see you again! I looked for you some months back and thought you’d deleted your site!

  17. You know I might have missed a lot with my absence but you still haven’t changed…your writing is still perfect …no one else can present Addicted to Love with such perfection…even Griffin Dunne would be surprised with your extraordinary portrayal of the movie.
    How are you Paul? :)

  18. Evi

    Just dropping in to say hi! Hope you’re enjoying July! :)

    • Hi Evi, July has been fine so far. It’s been a pleasure to just to sit reading other people’s thoughts on the ultimate anti-romantic comedy rom-com Addicted to Love.

  19. Jen

    I never considered these two movies together. One Fine Day was good but I found the humor a bit….stale? Heavy handed? I’m not sure. It wasn’t a total miss for me, but it wasn’t on par with some other romantic comedies I enjoy. And you know I adore Addicted To Love. I usually watch it with French Kiss.

    • I think I may be guilty of being too nostalgic about One Fine Day, probably because of the Michelle Pfeiffer factor. Addicted to Love is the more accomplished picture and the one that remains fresh and rewarding with every subsequent viewing.

  20. Sure I like One Fine Day for its lovely chemistry and storyline, but Addicted to Love is one of my all time favourites. Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick break out of their good girl/good boy roles, to both end up delightfully human!

    • Addicted to Love and One Fine Day are two lovely romantic tales that deserve to be better known. Addicted to Love in particular had the misfortune to be squashed by the dinosaurs of The Lost World: Jurassic Park when it was released in 1997.

  21. Addicted To Love is a movie I’d never make time to see on my own, but you’ve laid out a great case for it. Thanks for the recommendations!

  22. I’d easily recommend Addicted to Love and (though another Bedchel failure) French Kiss over One Fine Day for films with a very similar sort of premise. Both starring Meg Ryan is just coincidental. You’ve Got Mail is also along these same lines and easily a better film -though personally I didn’t like it that much, but oh well. Doubt anyone’s reading this anyway.

  23. I haven’t seen Addicted to Love, but One Fine Day is full of charm. I liked everything about it apart from that little kid who was really annoying. Great chemistry between Michelle and George.

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