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One Fine Day

The abrupt redistribution of joy and sorrow in the life of one ordinary man is explored with fanciful humor in "One Fine Day." Focused, low-key laffer is many degrees below the energy level of a "Groundhog Day" but generates the right dose of oomph for its own manifestly human ambitions. Silly, touching pic has offshore potential.

The abrupt redistribution of joy and sorrow in the life of one ordinary man is explored with fanciful humor in “One Fine Day.” Sweetly executed comedy boasts a shining central perf by Benoit Poelvoorde as a hapless bank employee for whom, on Monday, nothing goes right. But, starting Tuesday, absolutely everything morphs from aggravating and depressing to pleasant and encouraging. Focused, low-key laffer is many degrees below the energy level of a “Groundhog Day” but generates the right dose of oomph for its own manifestly human ambitions. Silly, touching pic has offshore potential.

On Monday — and, by inference, all the days preceding it — everyone and everything seems aligned against slightly morose Francois Berthier (Poelvoorde). His espresso machine explodes in his face, the newsstand guy snarls, his commuter train is jam-packed, the fluorescent light in his prison-like office is on the fritz and his boss is on the rampage. He’s separated from his wife Caroline (Anne Consigny) who wants a divorce for which the paperwork is nearly done. Even his tennis game sucks.

But when Francois wakes up on Tuesday, there’s been a shift in the fabric of the universe. The coffee’s great, his boss apologizes, a cute young woman joins him in the cafeteria — even his estranged wife seems interested in him again. Of course, sudden unearned happiness can be a shock to the system.

Francois warily luxuriates in his newfound happiness and authority, certain he’ll have to pay for it somehow. It’s no fun being a loser, but Francois is so unnerved by positive change that he feels obliged to tempt fate.

Pic exploits its premise with nicely dosed creativity. Although Francois works in a bank, the script is subtle about whether money can buy happiness. Narrative builds its fantasy with measured flair, even incorporating an unlikely musical number.

Poelvoorde, as always, is spot-on across a wide range of emotions. Among the supporting cast, Rufus is a standout as a bank guard a little too caught up in the history of the French Revolution, and Constance Dolle excels as a carefree salutary influence.

Score by Philippe Rombi is particularly delightful.

One Fine Day

France

  • Production: A Mars Distribution release of a Philippe Rousselet presentation of a Les Films de la Suane, StudioCanal, TF1 Films Prod., K2 production with the participation of Canal Plus in association with Banque Populaire Images 5 and 6, Sogecinema 3. (International sales: StudioCanal, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.) Produced by Philippe Rousselet. Directed by Philippe Le Guay. Screenplay, Olivier Dazat, Le Guay, based on an idea by Dazat;
  • Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Jean-Claude Larrieu; editor, Monica Coleman; music, Philippe Rombi; production designer, Jimmy Vansteenkiste; costume designer, Nathalie De Roscoat; sound (Dolby), Gerard Rousseau; associate producer, Etienne Comar; assistant director, Thierry Guerinel; casting, Frederique Moidon. Reviewed at UCG Les Halles, Paris, March 16, 2006. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Benoit Poelvoorde, Anne Consigny, Rufus, Bernard Bloch, Constance Dolle, Anne Le Ny.
  • Music By: