George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer spend a day juggling ex-spouses, precocious kids and high-flying careers in Michael Hoffman's saccharine romance. Pfeiffer plays an architect who tries to conceal her son's existence from her boss, while Clooney is a journalist who relies on his rakish charm to get him out of parental scrapes. When both their children miss a school outing they find they must share baby-sitting duties if they are to meet their working commitments. Naturally, they start off hating each other - Clooney's breezy confidence grates with Pfeiffer's anxious disposition - though their tedious quarrelling dissolves into genial chit- chat and lusty glances before the afternoon is out. One Fine Day merely ripples the surface of social commentary. It leans heavily on the irresistibility of its protagonists since the plot isn't up to scratch, but then it's probably too much to expect a Hollywood romance to be believable.
Jude the Obscure (15), Polygram, retail 12 Jan, pounds 12.99
Michael Winterbottom's rendering of Hardy's novel is a bleak yet rather frustrating one, focusing on Jude's (Christopher Ecclestone) ever-thwarted scholarly ambition and relationship with his cousin Sue Bridehead. Their affair unfolds in fits and starts of tragic intensity, though a lively performance from Kate Winslet reveals Jude as comparatively lifeless and an unattractive prospect for such a free-thinking young woman. Winterbottom's emphasis is modern and he steers clear of costume-drama convention - there is a lot of cigarette smoking, frenetic sex and a horribly intrusive childbirth scene. But despite the novel's focus on a relationship out of wedlock, it is not a contemporary story and this attempt to bring it up to date is unconvincing.
Home For The Holidays (15), retail,12 Jan Polygram, pounds 12.99
Jodie Foster directs this family-relationships comedy about the grown- up offspring of a bickering couple (Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning) who return to the nest for Thanksgiving. Not surprisingly, the reunion is not harmonious. Though there are some mildly funny moments, the humour generally revolves around farts and fatuous innuendo. A basic film all round.