Italy’s bid for a good old-fashioned American romantic comedy makes a perfectly pleasant showing with “One Day More,” Massimo Venier’s enjoyable knockoff of classic Hollywood-style thwarted couplings. Based on a novel by thesp Fabio Volo, who plays the lead, the pic generates plenty of aw-shucks moments when a thirtysomething guy’s-guy falls for a confirmed bachelorette being transferred to Gotham. Local biz continues to be strong three weeks into the run. Offshore traction on Euro screens eager for feel-good entertainment is possible, as is Euro remake potential. Stateside play depends on marketing strategies, though alert U.S. auds will question geographical slips.“If couples were financial products, they’d be high-risk investments,” states Giacomo (Volo) via voiceover just after exasperated g.f. Alessia (Valeria Bilello) flies the coop over his profound immaturity. Though he’s aces in the office, Giacomo isn’t the responsible type and can’t even look after the dog a thoughtful but misguided friend gives him. To diplomatically fend off advances from his boss’s zaftig daughter Chantal (Stella Pecollo), Giacomo invents a new g.f. he calls Agnese, based on a wordless flirtation he’s been having each morning on the tram to work. Agnese comes in handy for all sorts of situations until the woman herself, Michela (Isabella Ragonese) breaks the ice and invites him for coffee. The date doesn’t go well, and anyway she’s moving to New York the next day for her publishing job, but Giacomo is smitten, and convinced he can counter her anti-romantic cynicism. A biz trip to Buenos Aires via a direct flight from Milan to Pittsburgh (the plane’s itinerary straining credulity) sees Giacomo bailing in Steel Town and driving to Gotham, where he tracks down Michela, and the two have a lovely time together. They decide to pretend for four days that they’re engaged, but on the final day, their unwillingness to admit they’re right for each other has them both sabotage the idyll, and Giacomo heads home to Italy with the intention of returning to win her over. The resulting mix-ups and “kind stranger” rescues feel lifted from a dozen classic romancers (think Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan, heading back to Irene Dunne-Charles Boyer), yet for auds less given to eyeball rolling, the emotions of these meet-cutes can still generate wide grins of satisfied pleasure, and few Italo auds are quibbling over the formulaic nature of it all. New York itself is lensed in sunny splendor, a city of chance meetings set against dappled autumn foliage humming to the vibrant-voiced wonder of Dinah Washington. Side characters are mostly cardboard types thrown in for additional color (the crazy co-worker, the lovestruck neighbor, etc.), but Volo has an unshaven charm and Ragonese is a winning combo of affectless beauty and homey warmth. Stefania Sandrelli has a small role as Fabio’s slightly kooky Mom, whose re-discovery of love makes him think harder about the importance of holding on to the right relationship. Helicopter shots of Manhattan turn the city into an isle of joy, in contrast with the deliberate grays of Giacomo’s hometown of Milan. Visuals are always attractive, and if the music turns sappy occasionally, it’s only in keeping with the pic’s overall congeniality.
An 01 Distribution release of an IBC Movie in collaboration with Rai Cinema, Gruppo Telecom Italia Media, in association with FIP -- Film Investimenti Piemonte. Produced by Beppe Caschetto. Directed by Massimo Venier. Screenplay, Michele Pellegrini, Federica Pontremoli, Venier, Fabio Volo, based on the novel by Volo.
Camera (color), Paolo Carnera; editor, Walter Fasano; music, Paolo Buonvino, Giuliano Taviani; production designer, Valentina Ferroni; costume designer, Silvia Nebiolo; sound (Dolby Digital), Roberto Mozzarelli; line producer (New York), Sabine Schenk; assistant director/casting, Marcella Libonati. Reviewed at Turin Film Festival (A Moveable Feast), Nov. 28, 2011. Running time: 106 MIN.
Fabio Volo, Isabella Ragonese, Camilla Filippi, Pietro Ragusa, Irene Ferri, Roberto Citran, Lino Toffolo, Luciana Littizzetto, Stefania Sandrelli, Jack Perry, Valeria Bilello, Stella Pecollo, Paolo Bessegato, Roberta Rovelli, David Fierro, Anna Stante, Micaela Murero, Daniela Dimuro, Nick Nicolosi, Franco Ghibaudi, Hassani Shapi. (Italian, English dialogue)