George Hamilton, known as much for his bronze complexion as his film career, doesn’t seem an obvious source for a larger than life biopic.
“My One and Only” begs to differ, zeroing in on his early years under the indifferent parenting style of his feisty ma.
The new film looks back at a teen-age Hamilton, long before he adopted his sun-kissed persona.
And the only Gay Blade here is Hamilton’s flamboyant brother, the one who first dreams of a big screen career.
“My One and Only” is a tribute to Anne Deveraux (Renee Zellweger), a spirited woman of the 1950s who leaves her philandering husband (Kevin Bacon) and takes her two teen sons George and Robbie (Logan Lerman, Mark Rendall) with her.
The fractured family has little money, but Anne has a crush of ex-boyfriends she intends to ring up ASAP.
But each old flame flickers out before he can say, “will you marry me and let me financially care for your sons.”
All the while the boys suffer by moving from one city to the next, missing their father and unsure if their mom has any real plan for survival. Robbie dreams of becoming an actor while George is too worried about his family making the next rent payment.
“My One and Only’s” breezy tone, which can’t help but feel forced initially, carries all the way through this candy-colored yarn.
The bouncy soundtrack, snappy banter and authentic period details help the narrative rattle along, even while every other scene seems too strange to have happened.
Lerman is just fine as George’s younger self, showing the seeds of a charismatic performer still nurturing some emotional wounds.
Zellweger can do moxie in her sleep by now, and her gentle southern accent hints at an inner strength we often don’t always see in Anne’s actions.
Still, the film feels a tad slim — and casting Bacon as the boys’ husky-voiced father seems a mistake. It’s only during his final scenes that he manages to make the character his own.
“My One and Only” could use smarter dialogue and a few more oversized performances to close the deal. But as an unconventional tribute to a flawed but fascinating woman, the film delivers precisely as intended.
(Photo: Logan Lerman plays a young George Hamilton in “My One and Only” – Photo Credit: Bill Gray (c) Runaway Home Productions LLC)