Let’s face it. There haven’t been many (any?) good romantic dramas to weep through this summer. One Day attempts to fill the void. But alas, it misses the mark.

The film’s chick-flicky trailer sucked me in – and perhaps set my expectations too high – with its attractive stars (Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess), melodramatic encounters, sweeping vistas of London and Paris, and lines like, “Dexter… I love you. But I don’t like you anymore.” Total chick flick, right?

So what’s wrong with it? I’m not sure I can put my finger on it. Maybe Anne Hathaway is just too attractive even when she’s trying not to be. Maybe I just couldn’t buy her British accent. Maybe I’m a sucker for a Hollywood happy ending and this one delivers more of a sucker punch. Don’t worry – that’s not really a spoiler – especially considering the foreshadowing in the first thirty seconds of the film, and the fact that it’s based on a best-selling novel (by David Nicholls, who also wrote the screenplay).

On the plus side, I do have a new crush on British actor Jim Sturgess. I suspect he’s one break-out role away from actual name (and face) recognition.

The gist of the story is this: Emma (Hathaway) is a working-class girl with idealistic dreams and ambitions. Dexter (Sturgess) is a wealthy charmer who thrives on self-indulgence. The two form an unlikely bond of friendship (and possibly more) after spending a single day together after their college graduation in July of 1988. The film dips into their lives on that same date over the course of the next 20 years, providing a glimpse of their highs and lows, personally and professionally, together and apart.

The premise is promising, but it’s never a good sign when you’re asking yourself mid-movie, “what year does this end?” 1988… 1989… 1990… 1991… 1992… keep counting til you hit 2008 and you’ll understand why I started getting bored with that narrative device, probably somewhere around 1995.

For a better, more entertaining chick flick option, consider Friends with Benefits instead. Or, at the very least, save One Day for a discount matinee. You’ll thank me one day.

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