The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

My One And Only

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MY ONE AND ONLY – A PLEASANT ROAD TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

Screenwriter Charlie Peters’s script of My One and Only is loosely based on early events in the life of perpetually tanned, debonair actor George Hamilton, the film’s executive producer. The idea to turn this chapter of Hamilton’s life into a feature film was originally pitched by Merv Griffin before the TV mogul passed away in 2007 and his company serves as one of the film's producers.

Not the usual biopic, this comedy drama is more a mix of road trip and coming of age story with a loving tribute to Hamilton’s feisty mother, Anne Devereaux, a blonde Southern belle, aptly played by Renee Zellweger who carries the movie.

With his handsome looks, Logan Lerman easily fits into the role of the teenage George and acts as the film’s narrator. Set in 1953, years before woman’s lib and females asserted their independence, George’s mother Anne is portrayed as the typical American woman of that era who depended on a man for financial support and stability. Cheating, however, was another thing and definitely not tolerated when it came to marriage. So, after returning home early from a trip to the shore and finding her philandering, bandleader husband Dan (Kevin Bacon) in bed with another woman in their Manhattan apartment, Anne decides to leave him and start a new life with her boys in tow.

 

What follow is the trials and tribulations of Anne and her two sons, 15 year old George and his gay (actually that word only meant happy back then) needlepoint loving older half brother Robbie (Mark Rendell) as they travel cross country in their new powder blue Cadillac Eldorado convertible in search of finding a potential, rich man to take care of them. Although middle aged, Anne knows she can use the glamorous looks she still has to attract suitors. That’s the one problem I have with this film. Zellwegger certainly can act, but calling her “beautiful” is beyond belief. Come on now! I know I am not alone in saying that she has squinty little eyes in a squishy face that always looks as if she is sucking on a lemon. Cute, maybe, but beautiful? I don’t think so.

However, Anne keeps falling for the wrong man in what turns out to be a series of often comical mis-adventures as mom and her boys stop in Boston, Pittsburgh (where she is wrongly accused of prostitution), St. Louis, and eventually Los Angeles where Robbie, an aspiring actor hopes to be discovered. George on, the other hand, has dreams of becoming a writer and is fed up with being on the road. Emotionally wounded, he misses his dad and sees Anne as a lousy mother, incapable of nurturing, even though she has a good heart and really wants to provide for both her sons.

 

Among the men who wind up being a terrible choice as potential wealthy husband for Anne is old beau Wallace (Steven Weber). Not only is he broke, he begs Anne for $75,000 and winds up stealing money from her. Harlan (Chris Noth) a hot tempered military man sees George as a competitive threat and eventually shows off his violent side. Charlie (Eric McCormack) is a handsome playboy who prefers younger women to Anne; and Bill(David Koechner) a sweet natured, charming, but delusional paint store owner, literally doesn’t know the meaning of “my one and only”. Just ask his wife. Also lending his talents in small role is a hunky Nick Stahl (my, how this former child actor has grown into a man!) as Bud, Anne’s admiring neighbor car mechanic in Pittsburgh, who comes to her aid without any strings attached. He’s the only true gentleman she encounters on her journey, and although there is some obvious mutual physical attraction it doesn’t go anywhere. I guess we are to assume that is because he is both too young and too poor for Anne to latch on to.

As a period piece, director Richard Loncraine (Firewall, Wimbledon) has exquisitely captured the look, tone and feel of the 1950’s era complete with authentic sets, costumes, and even minute details as the pointed bras that were so very much in fashion. If nothing more, My One and Only plays out as a series of visually striking picture postcards that comes to life as well as a nostalgic look back at a very different America before female empowerment.

There is no mention of the name Hamilton until the end when we see how George got seduced into acting, taking his father’s real last name as his own. But, whether there is any interest in his background or not, Hamilton’s recollections of family dynamics, growth and becoming self reliant brings celebrity down to a level everyone can relate to. Wiith all its bumps on the road, My One and Only offers a pleasant trip down memory lane.