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    My One and Only

    Just run away, Renée

    Renée Zellweger gives a lift to "My One and Only," about the strange, rootless life of the enigmatic boy who would become the actor George Hamilton.


    Who knew that George Hamilton had such a colorful back story? Yes, that very preternaturally tanned Hollywood hanger-on. That star of the cheese-y 1980s movies, "Love at First Bite" and "Zorro, The Gay Blade." That show-biz personality who seems to have the air of always being around, but not really doing all that much of anything. Yes, the one and only.

    Directed by: Richard Loncraine.
    Written by: Charlie Peters.
    Cast: Renée Zellweger, Logan Lerman, Kevin Bacon, Troy Garity, David Koechner, J.C. MacKenzie, Eric McCormack, Chris Noth, Molly C. Quinn, Mark Rendall.
    Cinematography: Marco Pontecorvo.
    Edited by: Humphrey Dixon.

    Related links: Official site
    In "My One and Only," George Hamilton's alter ego, aka George Devereaux, is indeed quite the thespian-to-be. His father Dan is a jazz bandleader, who has had only one song hit ("My One and Only" — hence, the movie's title) that he is living off of his entire music career. George also has a brother, a very effeminate half-brother named Robbie, who cites Bette Davis, Judy Garland, et al, as references in his daily conversations. George is an aspiring writer ("his voice"), and Robbie seems to land all the oddest roles in the school plays for a teenage white boy — he plays Lady MacBeth and Othello.

    My One and Only  
    The brothers' comfortable Upper West Side home life in the early 1950s is turned inside-down when their mother Ann catches Dan with another woman. Soon, Ann drags them out of school and hits the road with them, going from place to place, blowing through city after city, like a tornado spinning around and around looking everywhere and anywhere to dump its load.

    You see, Ann is determined to stand on her own — so long as she finds a new husband who can stand her up. From Boston to Pittsburgh to St. Louis to L.A., Ann's singular goal seems to be getting hitched. She goes from suitor to suitor to suitor in town after town after town ... people would say that she was not a very good mother. And they would be right.

    Ann doesn't know which one of her sons takes a certain medication. Ann doesn't know which school her sons actually attend. Ann doesn't know that George's favorite book is "The Catcher in the Rye," even though he talks excessively about it for two years. Ann doesn't know much about being a mother at all.

    Ann seems like a horrible and self-indulgent woman, and she is, but Renee Zellweger trims off a few of those rough edges and makes her extremely likeable, though obviously still very, very flawed. Zellweger finds her inner Grace Kelly in all the 1950s dress-up, hair and manners — she looks like a doll. But she is no ice queen here — Zellweger brings such warmth to the role that you can see why her character is able to attract so many suitors. Ann's list of brief encounters reads like a catalogue of minor characters, played here by former TV lead actors played by Steven Weber ("Wings"), Chris Noth ("Sex and the City") and Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace").

      My One and Only
    As Ann's sons, Logan Lerman, as George, and Mark Rendall, as Robbie, play off each other very well as brothers who couldn't be more different. Kevin Bacon, the other well-known-enough actor in the film, turns in a more-or-less throwaway role as Dan, the cheating husband. The movie, under the skilled direction of Richard Loncraine, moves along wonderfully — it never feels rushed.

    In the movie, Ann's relationships always fail. But she is an optimist who always believes that good things are just around the corner, as she would say over and over again. And she always gives people the air that she is more important than she really is — delusions of grandeur, perhaps. From "My One and Only," we can only guess where George Hamilton got his air from.

    AUGUST 21, 2009

    Reader comments on My One and Only:

  • My One and Only   from Jodi Rowden, Feb 11, 2010

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