DVD Release Date: November 29, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: August 19, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (sexual content, partial nudity, language, some violence and substance abuse)
Genre: Drama/Romance
Run Time: 108 min.
Director: Lone Scherfig
Actors: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Rafe Spall, Romola Garai, Tom Mison, Jodie Whittaker

As any writer worth his/her salt already knows, one of the biggest no-nos in successful storytelling is getting way, way too attached to your own sparkling prose. And sadly, this is precisely how things go very wrong in the big-screen adaptation of David Nicholls’ whirlwind romance, One Day.

Like this past spring’s Something Borrowed, another example of a popular novel that should’ve been a far better movie than it actually was, One Day also suffers from a similar disconnect, namely a lack of discernment about what works well on the page vs. what ultimately engages an audience on-screen.

And since it was Nicholls himself who penned the screenplay, he isn’t exactly shy about borrowing from himself. In fact, entire passages (dialogue included) are essentially lifted straight from the book, which wouldn’t be a problem if something—anything—actually happened. Unfortunately, One Day ends up feeling more like One Year when a slew of unnecessary (read: mundane) details fail to move the story forward.

If anything, Nicholls’ extensive insight into Dex (Jim Sturgess, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole) and Emma (Anne Hathaway, Rio), two strangers who don’t exactly meet cute on the night of their college graduation, sleep together and ultimately decide they’re better as friends, would’ve given the story that rich, wonderfully complex character development that’s often missing in your standard-issue rom-com.

But even as we check in on Dex and Emma every July 15, the anniversary of their fateful inaugural meeting, and see them date other people and struggle to make sense of their lives, we’re still not given any compelling reasons for wanting them together. There’s just never that one moment when it all clicks. In the book, their relationship was much easier to buy, but here? Not so much.

Worse yet, it’s hard rooting for Dex and Emma because they’re mere caricatures of actual living, breathing people. Dex is basically the textbook definition of a cad. Good looking and completely aware of it, he’s also a child of privilege. Not really sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life, save for traipsing around Europe, drinking and bedding beautiful women, he’s not really deserving of a good girl like Emma, but yet you know he’s going to probably “see the light” and end up with her anyway. While Emma keeps reminding us there’s good beneath Dex’s superficial exterior, we never really get a chance to experience it until the film’s last third.