My One and Only
by George Sax
My One and Only has an ostensible kicker at its conclusion, a supposed revelation of the show-business identity of its youthful hero George (Logan Lerman). Fat chance. For one thing, executive producer George Hamilton has been spilling the beans hither and yon in the media. And more to the point, how would any real surprise ending be a secret in this age of informational ephemera overload? So we needn’t pay any attention to that.
Supposedly, the inspiration for this movie was the self-starring stories actor Hamilton told the late talk and game show magnate Merv Griffin at a Mexican resort about a decade ago. Apparently, Griffin found Hamilton’s autobiographical yarns so engaging that he began preparations for a movie project based on them. Maybe they sounded better when Hamilton told them. Or maybe legal considerations and some concern for accuracy prevailed, although My One and Only doesn’t convey a sense of rigorous fidelity to anyone’s facts.
At the center of the movie is the 15-year-old Hamilton—nee Devereaux—but its real focus is his mother Anne (Renée Zellweger), a Southern-belle-type refugee from Tennessee Williams country. Anne’s discovery of her bandleader husband (Kevin Bacon) flagrantly in marital delinquency in their Manhattan apartment sends her off with George and his swish half-brother Robbie (Mark Rendall) in a new 1954 Caddy convertible on a journey in search of a man—preferably an old beau—to replace her errant spouse.
This device is as flimsy as the resulting movie, and of questionable authenticity. Anne is still married even as she plans to wed a tyrannical right-wing Army colonel (Chris Noth) in Boston. And soon she and her two-boy brood are on the road again, eventually going cross-country to LA, where young George changes his name and miraculously becomes the perpetually sun-gilded glamour puss and sometimes self-mocking Dancing With the Stars contestant.
As a character, one obviously intended as a sympathetically unconventional and self-centered woman (she doesn’t know what school George is enrolled in), Anne is a thing of bits and scraps rather arbitrarily pasted, metaphorically, on cardboard backing. Zellweger plays her as if the character and the movie hold together better than they do, and as if she were capable of handling better material. Director Richard Loncraine keeps the vehicle rolling along briskly for the most part, but it’s not nearly as funny, poignant or believable as it seems to have been intended to be.
Watch the trailer for My One and Only
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