x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

My One and Only

Superficiality undermines the film's aspirations to be a heart-warming tale of family bonding.

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Based loosely on the teenage wanderings of the actor George Hamilton, this family comedy sees the 15-year-old George Devereux (Logan Lerman) and his flamboyant brother Robbie (Mark Rendall) trail their mother Ann (Zellweger) in her search for a new husband. The film aspires to be a heart-warming tale of a ragged family coming together and learning to understand each other, but the story falls short. Zellweger plays Ann as a glorified gold-digger - a parable-spouting Southern belle who feels "things always turn out for the best".

In what is intended as a symbolic rejection of the past, Ann instructs George never to look in the rear-view mirror as they quit New York. Yet after leaving her philandering husband Dan (Bacon), Zellweger contradicts her own advice by looking up a string of old beaus (including Chris Noth). Set in 1953, My One and Only cashes in on Mad Men mania with beautiful costume and set design, but its modern language and unlikely storyline seem at odds with the era. The jaunty plot sits uncomfortably with the open-road fantasy it attempts to evoke, and the sense of limitless possibility is never really established. Yes, Robbie and George eventually achieve their dreams, but the final resolution is all-too superficial, as though one more smile and tilt of Zellweger's head might knock it all over. Her once-charming crinkly eyes become as annoying as her Southern twang, and she swiftly fades from prim-and-perfect Betty Draper into a deluded Blanche DuBois. Perhaps in its truest nod to Americana, the best thing about this movie is the trio's baby blue Cadillac.