×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A Perfect Day

TNT certainly presents a pretty package with its original holiday-themed movie "A Perfect Day," but a confounding plot twist and less-than inspired perfs make more of a gag gift than a real holiday treat.

With:
Rob Harlan - Rob Lowe Allyson Harlan - Paget Brewster Camille - Frances Conroy Chuck - Jude Ciccolella Heather - Rowena King Darren - Kevin Dunn Stan - Damon Lipari Carson Harlan - Meggie Geisland Stuart Parks - Mike Pniewski Michael - Christopher Lloyd

TNT certainly presents a pretty package with its original holiday-themed movie “A Perfect Day,” but a confounding plot twist and less-than inspired perfs make more of a gag gift than a real holiday treat.

Once again, viewers are schooled in what are by now familiar lessons: Our priorities define our personalities; time is precious and not to be wasted. It’s sound advice, especially here.

“A Perfect Day is a Christmas movie” only in the sense the movie’s denouement coincides with Christmas. Otherwise, it’s just a run-of-the-mill contrivance where problems are easily rectified and life can be distilled into greeting card sentiments.

Joyce Eliason’s script is based Richard Paul Evans’ thinly veiled autobiography about his sudden ascent to literary stardom after his first novel, “The Christmas Box” (also a TV movie), wowed the public. His story is told through Rob Harlan (Rob Lowe), a family man and salesman who, after losing his job, decides to take the time to finally finish his novel, all with the blessing of his loving wife Allyson (Paget Brewster). Rob chucks his original idea and instead writes about his wife’s last days with her dying father. It’s her story, but she’s happy to share it. When he can’t find an agent to take his book, he falls into a funk and takes a job digging up septic tanks to keep the family afloat.

Enter saint-like book agent Camille (Six Feet Under’s Frances Conroy) who lovingly guides him and his book to publication. The novel becomes an instant hit and Rob similarly becomes an instant jerk.

As slick new publicists and agents woo him, he notices a mysterious man following him around. Michael (Christopher Lloyd) finally introduces himself to Rob, claiming to be an angel and telling him that if he doesn’t change his ways, he will die in 14 days — on Christmas.

Intentionally or not, Evans and Eliason have tapped into the newest, most effective motivational tool today. Although the film espouses ideas of faith and family, the real message here is about fear. Fear is the new guilt. If we are to believe “A Perfect Day,” people have to be scared into doing the right thing, because these days, it just doesn’t come naturally. Thanks in part to reality TV, gimmicks, tricks and rewards are now an expected part of life; “A Perfect Day’s” twistreinforces that idea.

Evan’s book, penance of a sort for his own behavior, served mostly as a tribute to his loving wife. That notion backfires a bit here with Brewster’s understated performance. Brewster only really comes to life when quarrelling with the now-famous Rob, making her earlier version of support look a lot like compliance. In fact, even the usually dependable Lowe and Conroy seem strangely muted and flat, which only further hampers the material. It would have been nice to see director Peter Levin play up Rob’s conflicts with his family, particularly his father, a little more. The few scenes addressing the issue feel the most genuine.

Set decoration and location shots are worthy of note since they provide the movie with its greatest sense of good will. Shot in and around New Orleans and Baton Rogue, the film looks festive.

A Perfect Day

TNT, Mon. Dec. 18; 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed on location in Baton Rogue and New Orleans by Sony Pictures Television, Magna Global Entertainment and Stephanie Germain Prods., Inc. Executive producers, Stephanie Germain, Sunta Izzicupo, Frances Croke Page; producer, Judy Cairo; co-executive producers, Kimberly Anderson, Malcolm Petal; director, Peter Levin; writer, Joyce Eliason, based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans.

Crew: Camera, Kees Van Oostrum; editor, Anita Brandt Burgoyne; music, Jeff Beal. Running time: 120 MIN.

Cast: Rob Harlan - Rob Lowe Allyson Harlan - Paget Brewster Camille - Frances Conroy Chuck - Jude Ciccolella Heather - Rowena King Darren - Kevin Dunn Stan - Damon Lipari Carson Harlan - Meggie Geisland Stuart Parks - Mike Pniewski Michael - Christopher Lloyd

More TV

  • HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE

    'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' Renewed for Season 2 at Disney Plus

    It may not have even premiered yet, but Disney Plus has handed out a second season renewal for “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Inspired by the “High School Musical” movies, the series was created and is executive produced by Tim Federle, and stars Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Larry Saperstein, Julia [...]

  • Hailee Steinfeld Dickinson Premiere

    Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski on What Modern Women Can Learn from Emily Dickinson

    Emily Dickinson lived in the 1800’s, but if you ask the team behind Apple TV Plus’ upcoming series, “Dickinson,” her story is more current than ever. Hailee Steinfeld stars in the the modern-day retelling of the poet’s young life. The actress — who makes her first full-time foray into television with the role and also [...]

  • Mackenzie Davis Himesh Patel

    Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel to Star in 'Station Eleven' Series at HBO Max

    Mackenzie Davis and Himesh Patel have been cast in the lead roles of HBO Max’s upcoming “Station Eleven” series adaptation. The show is based on the book of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel. Described as a postapocalyptic saga spanning multiple timelines, the series tells the stories of survivors of a devastating flu [...]

  • LIVING WITH YOURSELF

    How a Recurring Childhood Nightmare Inspired 'Living With Yourself'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Living With Yourself,” streaming now on Netflix. When writer and producer Timothy Greenberg was a child, he used to have a recurring nightmare. In it, he was sitting at his family’s kitchen table when the doorbell would ring and suddenly he would feel terrified, [...]

  • Meghan Duchess of Sussex during a

    Meghan Markle on Media Scrutiny During Pregnancy: 'Not Many People Have Asked if I'm OK'

    Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, opened up about being a newlywed and first-time mother amidst media scrutiny in an interview with “ITV News at Ten” anchor Tom Bradby. Markle, along with her husband, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, were interviewed for the new documentary, “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.” Markle, who addressed the [...]

  • Bless The Harts

    'Bless the Harts' Renewed for Season 2 at Fox

    “Bless the Harts” has scored an early second season renewal at Fox. This marks the first Season 2 renewal for a freshman show this season. The series has aired three episodes to date, with the fourth set to air this Sunday. The animated comedy hails from creator Emily Spivey and is loosely based on her [...]

  • Donald TrumpCNN Republican Presidential Debate, Las

    Trump Letter Threatens to Sue CNN; Network Calls It 'Desperate PR Stunt'

    An attorney for President Donald Trump has sent a letter to CNN that threatens to sue the AT&T-owned cable-news network for violating the Lanham Act and making misrepresentations to the public and advertisers about its content, but the network says the missive isn’t worth discussing. “This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content