Rob's Christmas Lowe
Having been made redundant from his marketing Job, family man Rob Harlan (Rob Lowe) decides to concentrate on becoming a novelist and whilst hard work, especially when faced with the numerous rejection letters, he sticks with it. And eventually things go his way when an agent decides to take a chance on him and all of a sudden Rob's book becomes a best seller turning him into an over night success. But success causes him to spend more and more time away from his family whilst he also starts seeing this mysterious stranger, Michael (Christopher Lloyd), who ominously appears like some sort of angel of death to warn him that he only has a short time left.
"A Perfect Day" starts with Rob Lowe's character entering a hotel room on his own, it's Christmas and he longingly stares out of the window. Then suddenly it goes black and white and we have Christopher Lloyd's character basically asking the question how did we get here. Any guesses what follows? Yes we get taken back to the start of this tale, into the life of family man Rob Harlan and we watch as events unfold leading to him being in a hotel room all alone at Christmas. Not the most ingenious of starts and to be honest the actual story of how Rob got there isn't that ingenious either but as it works it's way through what is a bucket load of cliches "A Perfect Day" manages to keep you watching till we get an appropriate ending and a couple of surprises.
Now to be blunt "A Perfect Day" is a TV movie with a message and a Christmas movie at that, if that doesn't signal cliche fuelled drama I don't know what will. In this case we have the storyline of Rob Harlan whose life changes when he is made redundant and so focuses on becoming a writer, a rocky road which leads to success but success changes him and causes him marital problems. Along this journey we watch how he goes from being a family man who takes on some manual labour to pay the bills till an agent likes the book he wrote through to this self centred man who becomes Mr. Unreliable. All of which to be honest is well worked whilst being extremely obvious, well with that opening it doesn't take long for you to guess that at that low point he's become estranged from his family and he is realising that all the success in the world isn't worth it.
But there is another side to "A Perfect Day" and that is the mysterious side, with Christopher Lloyd as the mysterious stranger who suddenly appears as Rob becomes more and more conceited to warn him of what he is becoming. And at the same time this mysterious stranger keeps on cropping up as the bearer of bad tidings as he warns Rob he only has a limited time left, 40 days which means come Christmas Day he begins to believe he will die. Spooky hey, well not really as whilst this is a take on the idea of an angel coming to forewarn someone there is a twist, a twist which you sort of suspect before it arrives come the end of "A Perfect Day".
But the thing is, that whilst "A Perfect Day" comes across as a mix of cliche ideas, other stories and recognizable scenes it strangely works. You do get drawn into this story even though you can guess that being a made for TV Christmas movie anything other than a happy ever after ending is seriously unlikely. And whilst the script also tosses up some seriously cheesy dialogue and some sugar filled scenes it sort of adds to the movie's charm because you expect them to be there.
Central to all this is of course Rob Lowe who plays the less than imaginatively named Rob Harlan and to be honest Rob does an adequate job. He delivers that family man aspect at the start, the loving husband and father who feels down when he is forced to do manual work yet at the same time you also get the egotistical side as success turns him into a different person. But this isn't a great performance from Rob Lowe and neither is it a great performance from the rest of cast which also includes Christopher Lloyd, Paget Brewster, Frances Conroy and Kevin Dunn.
What this all boils down to is that whilst enjoyable "A Perfect Day" ends up like so many other made for TV Christmas movies which endeavour to deliver a message about what is important in life. In being so it is full of cliche ideas, cliche scenes as well as cliche dialogue alongside what in reality are okay but not brilliant performances. But if you are a sucker for feel good Christmas movies and that special sort of sentimentality that flows through TV movies then it will entertain.