My One And Only is based on a George Hamilton autobiographical story. It’s probably a tale that his fans know well. It wasn’t one I was at all aware of. The screenplay was written by Charlie Peters. Hamilton himself is a producer on the film, so we can assume that the story unfolds in much the same way he intended. Like most autobiographical pieces, it has a limited audience. Fans of the subject are certainly going to be quite interested. Others who consider the subject of some note might also have an interest in the material. Unfortunately, it’s like watching vacation or baby slides. After some time you can get lost and bored watching the high or low points in someone else’s life. This is just that kind of experience.
Anne (Zellweger) comes back early from a trip to find her husband, big band leader Dan (Bacon) in bed with another woman. She immediately decides to leave him and take their sons George (Lerman) and Robbie (Rendall) on the road to find herself a new husband. Anne is the typical southern aristocrat and believes she needs to find someone to give her the good life she has become accustomed to. Their first stop is Boston where she runs into old flame Wallace (Weber) who just wants to borrow money because his business is failing. Next she gets engaged to military man Harlan (Noth) who just wants a family so that he can be a “top dog”. Next it’s on to Pittsburg, and it’s Oliver and Charlie. Next stop St. Louis and a paint store magnate who’s crazy as a loon. Finally, it’s California to give Robbie a chance to be an actor. Along the way the family learns about themselves and the man they left behind. They finally settle in California where it’s George who ends up with the acting career.
Rene Zellweger is too over the stop with the accent and prissy stance trying to play the southern belle Anne. The performance ends up being more of a caricature than a character. That might have been just great if this had actually been a comedy as the box art and press for the film suggest. The problem is the film doesn’t really know what it wants to be. The acting and exotic characters certainly scream comedy, but none of this is funny. At times it looks more like it wants to simply pull your heartstrings, but I don’t find any of these people warm and fuzzy. There are obviously attempts at the traditional road film, but the trip has too many starts and stops to carry that theme through. Instead it all kind of meanders through a variety of genres, never settling anywhere at all. Finally, the movie wants very much to be a period piece and shows off vintage automobiles and costumes, but all of that serves merely as a backdrop for an empty stage. Logan Lerman looks like he could very well be a young George Hamilton, and his acting is fine, but his narrative of the story always appears self serving and unnecessary for the most part
My One And Only is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The average bit rate of 6.0 mbps is pretty impressive, but the film has an amber color to it that takes away any benefit a good transfer might offer. Instead the entire film looks like it was just badly lit. I know they’re going for a sepia period look here, but it only takes away any chance we can buy into these events, a slim chance though it might have been. Black levels are better than average, and compression artifact does hurt the film in certain areas. Combine it with the color correction and it looks rather cheap.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track works well in this dialog driven piece. There are some fine examples of ambient sounds here, but most of the action is front and center. There are some musical pieces when George meets up with his father that sound pretty good.
Another one of those useless Eco Boxes. Does anyone really think we’re saving the planet one DVD case at a time?
Behind The Scenes: (35:24) Budget complaints and explanations dominate this half hour look at the film’s production. They kept running out of money. I guess George didn’t have a big enough chunk of change in the bank.
Making Of Featurettes: There are six mini-features here covering: Development, Casting both actors and crew, Shooting in Baltimore, Recreating The 50’s, and Restoring The Cadillac.
George Hamilton has been successful in his own way. He’s done better than most, but I don’t think that anyone is going to mistake him for a huge star in the business. His early serious acting in the old studio system has long ago been overshadowed by his parody style. He’s one of those actors that has become somewhat a character himself. That glaze fake suntan that has become his trademark certainly makes it hard for any of us to take him very seriously anymore. That doesn’t mean that his life isn’t interesting or that this story doesn’t have merit. I’m sure that his fans will eat this one up. The rest of us just don’t have as much a personal interest in the man to claw our way through this rather disjointed effort. It’s not that the film has no style. It has too many styles. It ends up being George Hamilton’s version of the American Dream. “Everybody’s looking for the American Dream, but in the end it’s a sucker’s bet.”