Old 10-12-2009, 02:15 PM
Richard Loncraine's My One and Only

My One and Only (2009)

I am not at all familiar with George Hamilton the actor, whose teen years this film is based on. In fact, after perusing through his filmography on IMDB, it turns out that I've only seen him in two projects: "Roots" and "The Godfather, Part III," and I don't even remember him specifically from those. I can't tell you whether this film is accurate or not regarding the events, but I can tell you that it is rather entertaining in its telling of them.

The film starts with Ann Deveraux (Renée Zellweger) discovering her husband, Dan (Kevin Bacon), with another woman in their home. Ann decides to take her two boys, George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall), and hit the road. Ann's goal is to find a new husband that will be able to support her and her boys. This takes them to Boston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, and eventually Los Angeles. Along the way, they meet many interesting characters including possible suitors, but all the while, George is uncertain whether he should continue with this trip or return to his father in New York.

This is basically a road movie set in the 50s. The sets and costumes make it look like no expense was spared to create the atmosphere of the time, which is very effective as the three main characters go from town to town. Everywhere they go it seems like Ann has an ex-boyfriend living there, all of which she tries to get to marry her.

However, every time she thinks she's found someone, it turns out they're a terrible match. There is even one that she gets engaged to that turns out to have a completely different problem. This suitor, Bill Massey (David Koechner), is the co-owner of a paint company. At one point, he has a man-to-man talk with George about women where he only gives one piece of advice: since womens' temperatures are messed up, always have a sweater nearby to offer them in case they are cold. He seems like he would be a good match for Ann if it weren't for one interesting little development.

This film is really all about the characters. Ann, as played by Zellweger, is a sweet, but naive woman, who can't see when someone is just not a good match for her. George actually has to point out that one of her potential suitors, Charlie (Eric McCormack), is much too young for her. We've already had the chance to observe this from his younger date at the party where they meet up.

Zellweger can sometimes be an annoying presence, but here, she gives a great performance. She hits all the right notes of this character who is trying desperately to find somewhere new to settle down. Her love for her boys is clear, though it's not always shown, as in some scenes where George expresses that he wants to see his father or end the roadtrip there and now.

George is softspoken most of the time, but never afraid to speak his mind to his mother. He keeps thinking that Ann will change her mind and go back to New York to Dan, but keeps being surprised at how far his mother is willing to go. It's not easy for him, having to leave several schools, especially in St. Louis, where he has friends and has even been told by one of his teachers that his writing is good. After finally getting the chance to explore his writing, it makes it all the more surprising that he accidentally gets into acting.

Robbie, George's half-brother from another marriage, is constantly trying to be an actor. He's gotten the leads in several school plays, but ironically has never gotten the chance to act in any of them because of having to be on the go with his family all the time. There's even one time where he gets to speak a line on stage only to be interrupted because there is a tornado nearby. It is Ann's hope that he will be discovered in Hollywood, which leads up to an amusing scene near the end of the film.

The ending wraps up rather nicely, and again, I can't tell you if any of it is actually true, but everyone seems to get what they want in the end, even if it's not what they set out to get from the beginning. It is the characters that have made this journey from coast to coast worthwhile. By the end, we are kind of like the classroom of students that George has told his story to, and even though we saw it happen, it's still quite a tale to believe, one fit for an actor. 3/4 stars.
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