Miscast Renee Zellweger spoils potentially fun ‘My One and Only’

  • Thu Sep 3rd, 2009 5:17pm
  • Life

By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic

Some people seem to have lived more interesting lives than their public image would suggest, and George Hamilton, apparently, is one of them.

You really don’t remember George Hamilton?

He has kind of faded off the map in recent years. In the early 1960s he was a promising young male ingenue, then became a mainstay of game shows and talk shows, famous (almost exclusively, after a certain point) for his impeccable tan.

But he’s also renowned as a charming raconteur and one of his life stories comes to the screen in a fictionalized way in “My One and Only,” a lamely titled account of his teen experiences.

The year is 1953 and Ann Deveraux (played by Renee Zellweger) has had enough of her philandering husband (Kevin Bacon), a Manhattan bandleader who spends most of his time on the road.

Taking her two sons in tow, she buys a spectacular Cadillac convertible and heads in the direction of any place that will offer either an old flame or a new prospect for marriage.

The teenage sons are Robbie (Mark Rendall), an effeminate lad with acting ambitions, and George (Logan Lerman), a cynical wit who prefers stability to the nomadic life.

The episodic tale covers most of the United States, as Ann sorts through various suitors. Each has a reason for not working out, always leaving Ann with an empty bankbook.

One of the problems with the movie and Charlie Peters’ script is that these episodes aren’t hugely distinctive, except for a sequence involving a St. Louis paint tycoon (David Koechner). That one has a great punch line.

We see things, naturally enough, from the perspective of 15-year-old George, who will someday become George Hamilton. Logan Lerman, who appeared in “3:10 to Yuma” and also stars in this week’s “Gamer,” looks right enough for the role — but perhaps lacks the movie-star dazzle that would distinguish a future matinee idol.

The film itself, directed by veteran Richard Loncraine, is like that: amusing at times, well appointed, but missing an ingredient that would make it compelling to watch.

As for Renee Zellweger, she labors hard at her role, but her pinched presence isn’t right for this expansive, allegedly fascinating lady.

“My One and Only” (1 ½ stars)

A weak telling of a tale drawn from the teen years of actor George Hamilton, when his mother (Renee Zellweger) took her teenage boys on a cross-country odyssey away from her philandering husband. Some witty moments, but Zellweger isn’t a grand enough personality for the role.

Rated: PG-13 for subject matter

Showing: Guild 45th, Pacific Place, Thornton Place Stadium 14