If your Clarence (It's A Wonderful Life) or Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future is Jim from Taxi (Christopher Lloyd) you certainly want to pay attention. Not that author Rob Harlan (Rob Lowe) has much choice. In A Perfect Day he is immediately flashed back to the moment he got fired from his job and started to work on his book with the full support of his wife and daughter. Saying more than A Perfect Day is the story of a writer who gets life warnings from a mysterious character (Lloyd) as his great success starts costing him his friends and family would be taking a lot of the magic from this smart made for TV movie.
A Perfect Day DVD is one of the best feel good Christmas movies I have seen in a long time. I usually despise them because they are stupid, maudlin, and more sugary sweet than a truckload of Nutrasweet boxes. A Perfect Day, however, does not waste time telling its story and manages to mark the sequence of events smartly and plausibly. It also assumes it is being watched by an intelligent audience and so does not need to connect all the dots in highlighter. A good example of that is how it reveals the plot of the book Harlan wrote and why it is a hit.
Director Peter Levin and writer Joyce Eliason are really smart by not making A Perfect Day your usual American overnight success and its pitfalls story and by keeping everything real and believable. They also tell the story without using cliché shortcuts or wasting a single minute. For example, Rob's estrangement from his family (the crux of the story) is gradual, subtle, and, again, believable. Even the Christopher Lloyd magic element is used sparingly and with great intelligence.
A Perfect Day features a solid cast featuring Rob Lowe as his usually restrained self, Paget Brewster of Criminal Minds as Rob's wife, Frances Conroy of Six Feet Under as the literary agent, and, of course, Christopher Lloyd as the mysterious guy.