Aimed directly at the older audiences who remember when movies effortlessly mixed hilarity, family drama and sentiment without blinking an eye, My One and Only is that rare kind of comedy that doesn’t come around very often anymore. Loaded with laughs, heart and wonderful performances, this ’50s set comedy about a flamboyant mother and two sons on a wild cross country road trip is first class entertainment, and will be loved by the audience that flocked to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. However, with a low marketing budget and stiff competition My One and Only will require ferocious word of mouth and the determination of theater owners willing to keep it around for it to make a dent at the box office. DVD prospects are probably brighter.
In development at the late Merv Griffin’s production company for more than a decade and finally independently financed and produced, this warmhearted tale is inspired by the early life of actor George Hamilton, who also serves as Executive Producer.
The premise has gorgeous, determined, but unlucky-in-love Ann Deveraux (Renée Zellweger) splitting from her irresponsible bandleader hubby (Kevin Bacon) and hitting the road with teenage sons George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall) in their brand new 1953 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible, in pursuit of the rich man of Anne’s dreams. Unfortunately it seems like she just shuttles from one loser to the next while the boys keep switching schools. George is a cynical, aspiring writer, looking to break free; gay and enthusiastic Robbie is hoping for an acting career. Together, the threesome stumbles along their way, forging an even tighter bond as they go.
Basically a simple extended road picture, My One and Only is not only set in the ’50s, it looks like it could have been made then. The film’s weakest point is Richard Loncraine’s rather uninspired direction, but that’s more than made up for by Peters’ sparkling and witty screenplay and Zellweger’s superb performance. It’s a whopper of a role for an actress and Zellweger delivers. Lerman, playing the young Hamilton, is definitely an actor to watch. Rendall steals just about every scene he’s in. Bacon is solid in his supporting role and Nick Stahl also has some nice moments.
A fine coming of age film and a winning trip back to a more innocent time, My One and Only isn’t on the same wavelength as most of today’s contemporary comedies, but for those willing to go along for the ride this is one to see.
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Logan Lerman, Mark Rendall, Kevin Bacon, Chris Noth, Eric McCormack, Steven Weber, Troy Garrity, Nick Stahl and David Koechner.
Director: Richard Loncraine
Screenwriter: Charlie Peters
Producers: Aaron Ryder and Norton Herrick
Rating: PG13 for sexual content and language
Running time: 108 min.
Release date: August 21 NY/LA