Self-effacing, perpetually tanned actor George Hamilton (“Zorro: The Gay Blade”) is probably better know for his many TV talk show appearances than he is for his countless movie roles.
But the 70-year-old star has lived a fascinating life, part of which is depicted in a fictionalized account of his youth called “My One and Only.”
A project long in development, “My One and Only” is an affectionate look at Hamilton’s mother and, in particular, a memorable cross-country road trip they took on their way to Hollywood in the early 1950s.
Renee Zellweger (“New in Town”) portrays Ann Deveraux, a beautiful belle with a strong will and a bad habit of picking the wrong men. Ann splits from her husband, bandleader Dan Deveraux (Kevin Bacon from “Frost/Nixon”), after she catches him in bed with another woman in their Manhattan apartment.
Unsure of what she’ll do or where she’ll go, Ann packs up her sons George (Logan Lerman from “3:10 to Yuma”) and Robbie (Mark Rendall from “30 Days of Night”) and leaves the city.
Emptying the safe deposit box, she instructs George to buy them a car and the three head west in a snazzy Coupe de Ville.
Determined to provide for herself and her boys in the best way that a woman can in that era, Ann uses her looks and charm to try and snare a wealthy husband.
Most of the action involves Ann’s misguided romantic relationships on this lengthy road trip.
George is the born skeptic who serves to provide an ongoing dose of reality for his mother who believes that “things always work out in the end.”
George’s gay brother Robbie, a wannabe actor, simply goes with the flow and seems to be amused by his mother’s eccentricities.
Ann’s long list of beaus is played by Steven Weber from TV’s “Wings”) Chris Noth from “Sex and the City”), Eric McCormack from TV’s “Will & Grace” and David Koechner from “Extract.”
While amusing, the movie never quite rings true. Mostly, there is a slight sense of exaggeration that pervades the entire story, preventing the better moments from having the dramatic impact they should.
Director Richard Loncraine (“Firewall”) and screenwriter Charlie Peters (“Krippendorf’s Tribe”) aren’t quite able to find the right blend of drama and lighthearted comedy.
Zellweger brings a modicum of charm to her role and the movie has a mildly nostalgic atmosphere. But “My One and Only” is like much of Hamilton’s film output. It’s nice, but forgettable. (PG-13) Rating: **1/2
* Avoid at all costs
** Only if you're bored
*** Good movie
**** Well worth your time
***** Be sure to see it