Meanwhile, middle-class Emma is sweet, slightly awkward and has literary ambitions she never thinks she can live up to. Why she’d get involved with a guy like Dex, even as friends, is nothing short of a mystery. Sure, he’s undeniably handsome and charming to boot, but he doesn’t really add anything to her life except drama. Adding further insult to injury, her low self-esteem means that she routinely settles for a life that’s beneath her, particularly the company of her very unfunny live-in love, a comedian named Ian (British TV actor Rafe Spall) who’s got all the appeal of rotting salami on rye.

Sadly, lackluster casting also contributes to the film’s decidedly leaden quality. As pretty as Sturgess and Hathaway are, and there’s no doubt the camera likes them, they just don’t generate much heat. Whether they’re kissing, flirting at the local pub or merely serving up witty verbal barbs, it’s about as convincing as Hathaway’s accent. For the record, that wildly fluctuates between British, Irish, and, well, Hathaway’s normal voice, which naturally results in several unintentionally funny moments.

All that said, however, perhaps the biggest crime of One Day is the sheer lack of a point. Since the story does so little to entertain, shouldn’t there be some significance to these total opposites coming together? Unlike the book that delves deeper into class differences and the post-college existential crises that many students face once they’re thrust from the classroom into the adult world, One Day seems more interested in simply leading the audience down the path of emotional manipulation than actually engaging them in anything meaningful—a shame considering how much of a page-turner Nicholls’ novel was.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking and some recreational drug use depicted.
  • Language/Profanity: A single use of the “f” word, plus a rude gesture in a similar vein. A smattering of other profanity including as-, bit--, da--, he-- and sh--, plus their British counterparts. God’s and Jesus’ names are also misused on several occasions, most frequently as exclamations. Rude references to male and female anatomy and sexual acts.
  • Sex/Nudity: Several unmarried couples, including the protagonists, sleep together. Dex and Emma go skinny-dipping, and we see Dex disrobe (everything below the waist is obscured from view) and Emma’s nude body from a distance (her breasts, etc. are too blurry to really see anything). When Dex and Emma visit a nude beach, we see several older people’s backsides, plus a side view of women’s breasts. Known for his womanizing ways, Dex has sex with several other women, too, and we see him getting busy in one scene (his female companion is very scantily clad) while he’s on the phone with Emma.
  • Violence: Dex gets beat up at one point, plus there’s a scene where a character gets hit by a bus while riding a bike. We see the bloodied dead body after the fact.

 

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.