Footage of a nuclear blast opens My One and Only, and though it doesn’t prove a defining image, Richard Loncraine’s film—loosely based on the adolescence of actor George Harrison—is nonetheless more dull calamity than stirring triumph. In the ‘50s, George (Logan Lerman) and his theatrical gay half-brother Robbie (Mark Rendall) travel around the country in a powder-blue Cadillac Eldorado with mom Ann (Renée Zellweger), a platinum blond Southern belle prone to aphorisms who, fed up with two-timing bandleader hubby Dan (Kevin Bacon), is in need of a new sugar daddy. As envisioned by Charlie Peters’s script, Ann is a loving maternal figure whose sassy street smarts and tender heart make up for her irresponsibility and general know-nothingness, and whose reckless parental and personal conduct are all excused by an optimistic catchphrase, “Everything works out, always,” that’s intrinsically substantiated by the fact that Hamilton went on to become a star. How these teenage experiences shaped the actor’s eventual career, however, is something My One and Only cares little about, for aside from his frustration with Mom and misguided longing for a return to NYC and Dad, George is a cipher who largely cedes the spotlight to his mother. There’s a whiff of Crazy in Alabama to Ann’s own meandering westward-ho odyssey, a wannabe-screwy lark in which her search for matrimony invariably leads her to unstable kooks. Amid the gaggle of colorful Mr. Wrongs and Robbie’s stream of queenly quips, Zellweger makes a concerted effort portraying Ann as charming and sympathetic even as the narrative—a broad, episodic affair marked by cursory encounters with a variety of comedic stick figures—fails to justify either quality. While the actress’s performance still hangs too heavily on her trademark squinty-eyed smiles and baby-doll pouts, at least Zellweger’s cutie-pie inclinations are fleetingly accompanied by attempts at soulfulness, something the staid My One and Only only truly achieves in its affectionate glimpses of a Los Angeles where desperate dreams are nurtured not in the palm tree-dappled sunshine but in the shade of movie sets and at the edges of empty motel swimming pools.
- Freestyle Releasing
- 100 min
- Richard Loncraine
- Charlie Peters
- Renée Zellweger, Logan Lerman, Chris Noth, Kevin Bacon, Troy Garity, David Koechner, Eric McCormack, Mark Rendall, Nick Stahl, Steven Weber, Robin Weigert
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