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.