My One and Only is a pleasant little time killer of a coming-of-age comedy, a period piece built around the early life of Hollywood never-quite-a-star George Hamilton. Anything you know about the eternally tan, eternally debonair "face" he became will add to your enjoyment of this (apparently) true tall tale of his youth.
George (Logan Lerman) and his brother, Robbie (Mark Rendall), were teenagers in 1953, abruptly yanked from their posh Manhattan school after Mom came home from a trip and caught their bandleader dad (Kevin Bacon) in bed with a showgirl. The ever-absent Anne Devereaux (Renée Zellweger) might not even know which school the boys attend. But she's outraged enough to track them down. She packs their things — or has them packed — empties out the safe deposit box and sends out 15-year-old George to buy them a new Cadillac convertible. They're going on a road trip to find a new sugar daddy.
After a quick driving lesson for George — "Never look in the rear view mirror, darling. It makes no difference what's behind you." — they're off, to Boston, Pittsburgh and beyond, Mom's old husband-hunting grounds. It's what she knows.
Each town has a new or old suitor (Steven Weber, Chris Noth and David Koechner among them). In each town, Robbie fits right in with the drama queens at school and lands the lead in the school play.
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And with each new man, George's resentment grows.
Zellweger has a little fun with Anne, never turning her into the outrageous caricature such creatures seem in our more liberated times. Bacon has little to play, and the assorted menfolk make only the broadest impressions. But Koechner, one of our funniest sidemen, scores as a would-be dad and paint tycoon whose advice is that women "are never the right temperature" and that's why a smart suitor always keeps a sweater in the car.
It's up to Lerman, also in the dreadful Gamer from a few weeks ago, to carry the film. He's OK, if a bit bland, voicing the banal "nothing was ever the same after that" narration.
But Zellweger and the very quaintness of it all give My One and Only a warm glow. The inside jokes about the then-pale Hamilton having to be told to "get some sun" should tickle anyone who ever wondered about the mother who shaped the Man With the Tan.