Director: Michael Hoffman. Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney (PG)
If you're a parent, you can't go to the cinema these days without having your conscience scrutinised for the merest blemish. In the past six months, Jingle All The Way, Jerry Maguire and Liar Liar have been on hand to feed the parental guilt complex. This week, your emotional battering comes in the shape of One Fine Day, a love story about two single parents who manage to nurture a romance, in between minding a pair of precocious children and holding down the most demanding jobs in the world.
As the lead roles are played by Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney, those characters have the added advantage of being fiendishly attractive, so that you know that nothing too awful is going to befall them. Pfeiffer is an architect, Clooney a crusading journalist. She is an uptight control freak, while he is a chilled-out rascal.
When Pfeiffer's son and Clooney's daughter both miss their school trip, our intrepid couple realise that only by sharing the baby-sitting demands can they meet their commitments. Aside from a mix-up with mobile phones, and a momentarily missing child, the plan works splendidly. That's escapism enough for any parent who has tried to negotiate the minefield of child care, but not for this movie. To qualify as a superdad, Clooney must nail the scoop that will save his career, bring down a corrupt mayor and get both children to soccer on time. Nothing he faced as Batman could have prepared him for this.
Naturally, the children in the film are wise beyond their years, not to mention beyond the endurance of all but the most sentimental viewer. But then you don't come to One Fine Day for social realism. This is a fantasy whose success depends on you finding its stars irresistible. Clooney is effortlessly appealing, but Pfeiffer is more impressive for pulling off the task of projecting warmth through sustained hysteria. One Fine Day saves its only visit to planet Earth until last. Having spent the day doing everything short of curing cancer, Pfeiffer and Clooney earn themselves a romantic night in - asleep. It's the one time that the film gives them, and any parents in the audience, a break. Now you don't have to feel bad about crashing on the sofa while the kids watch TV. Hollywood says so.
CITY OF INDUSTRY
Director: John Irvin. Starring: Harvey Keitel (18)
Take Harvey Keitel and put him in the jewellery store with sunglasses and a gun and what do you get? A severed ear awaits any reader who replied "A heist that goes disastrously wrong". Perhaps the only unpredictable thing about City of Industry is that the disaster doesn't kick in until after the heist when Roy (Keitel), his brother Lee (Timothy Hutton), the getaway driver Skip (Stephen Dorff) and ex-con Jorge (Wade Dominguez) have made it back to their hideout. But it's not long before one of them double crosses the other and Roy steps in as the avenging angel.
The picture's details are subtle and precise but there's a distinct energy shortage. Sympathetic viewers might call the pace slow burning, but aside from featuring Stephen Dorff's first ever sparky performance, it never even catches light.
UNHOOK THE STARS
Director: John Cassavetes. Starring: Gena Rowlands, Marisa Tomei (15)
In 1980, Gena Rowlands played an ex-gangster's moll forced to protect a young boy from the mob in the film Gloria, directed by her husband John Cassavetes. In Unhook The Stars, she brings the same commitment to the role of Mildred, a lonely woman who finds happiness baby-sitting the son of an uncouth neighbour (Marisa Tomei). This time around, the writing and directing duties have fallen to Rowland's son, Nick, and while he has his late father's knack for noticing the contradictions in apparently simple characters, his film errs on the sentimental side.
JOUR DE FETE
Director: Jacques Tati. Starring: Jacques Tati (U)
When Tati shot this sweet comedy in 1948, he did so in colour, yet expensive processing techniques forced the field to be printed in black and white. Now the colour version receives its first theatrical release; and while the breezy tale of a postman whose working methods are revolutionised is diverting enough, the film's levity doesn't allow it to linger long in the heart.
RUMBLE IN THE BRONX
Director: Stanley Tong. Starring: Jackie Chan (15)
This is Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan's most blatant attempt to snare mainstream audiences. In this good-natured, self-parodic adventure, Chan arrives in New York for his uncle's wedding, and finds the family store being terrorised by local bikers. There is plenty here to amuse jaded Westerners, and you can't fail to be captivated by the choreography of the fight scenes, as Chan battles evil with whatever comes to hand. Crutches, skis and fridge freezers - you name it, he can knock somebody out with it.
Director: John Waters. Starring: Divine (18)
John Waters' contrived excursion into excess centres around a contest to find the most disgusting person alive, with trailer park transvestite Divine doing more than his fair share to win the title. This 25th-anniversary re-release retains its ragged amateurish appeal but pales beside Waters' more subtlety subversive Female Trouble and Hairspray.
PREACHING TO THE PERVERTED
Director: Stuart Urban. Starring: Tom Bell (18)
This tame comedy about an ambitious young puritan drawn into the world of sado-masochism never reaches the level of penetrating satire offered by your average seaside postcard. For a film about sex, it proves to be the cinematic equivalent of a cold shower.
Director: Jean-Claude Van Damme. Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme (18)
Jean-Claude Van Damme directs himself in this hilarious martial arts thriller about a tournament to find the greatest fighter in the world, to be held in the lost city at the top of the world, which turns out to be in Tibet. The usual mixture of brutality (for the fans) and ropy dialogue (for everyone else) ensues, and just when you think it can't get any worse, Roger Moore turns up proclaiming himself to be the last of the buccaneers.
Ryan GilbeyReuse content