“My One and Only” is an improbably strange attempt to tell the story of a boy named George — Logan Lerman, “3:10 to Yuma” — who comes of age while on a road trip with his mildly deranged mother — Renee Zellweger, “New in Town”. George spends most of his time pouring through the pages of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” while director Richard Loncraine — “Firewall” — attempts to draw parallels between the boy and Holden Caulfield. But Locraine’s extended comparisons are about as restrained as a beating over the head with the book itself.
“My One and Only”
At the State
The movie tries to establish a balance between a story about growing up and a story about a dysfunctional family. However, the coming-of-age story never really goes anywhere and instead just subserves itself to the plotline of the film. There’s a tiny blip of romance in George’s life, but that’s about it. “My One and Only” is stuck in the awkward phase of adolescence despite the fact that it strives for a more mature form of artiness.
The only particularly amusing characters are the polygamist Bill Massey (David Koechner, “Get Smart”) and Robbie (Mark Rendall, “The Exploding Girl”), George’s flamboyant brother who loves acting and wearing his mother’s jewelry and clothes. Though they’re empty caricatures, they provide a few laughs on the hellish road trip. Bill Massey is particularly good when he talks to George about women — he tells him that they are either too hot or too cold, literally referring to temperature rather than making some sort of innuendo.
While the cast includes names like Kevin Bacon (“Frost/ Nixon”), Chris North (“Sex and the City: The Movie”) and Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), these stars don’t get a chance to stand out, instead falling into boring stereotypes. Bacon is particularly dull as father Dan Deveraux, who fails to be more than a womanizer who undergoes a miraculous and artificial change of heart. Zellweger isn’t at her best either as she tries to portray a terrible mother attempting to be clever, elegant and vivacious. Instead, she comes across as washed-out and desperate.
Zellweger’s character might also insult some women. She tries to get married to just about any wealthy man she meets and exploits her wannabe suitors shamelessly. She supposedly learns she can get along without a man in her life, but doesn’t realize it soon enough. It seems like she comes to this conclusion merely because she either gives up trying or because she gets too old to attract anyone wealthy enough.
Worst of all, the ending is a contrived, everyone-lives-happily-ever-after affair. The problem here is that it’s impossible to like any of the characters enough to really care whether or not they end up happy. In fact, Robbie, the only character really worth caring about (if only for his snide remarks) gets written off as a side note. For the most part, the characters don’t grow or change. The only difference is that George decides his mom is tolerable, and she decides she doesn’t need a husband. Of course, these conclusions make their time spent on the road meeting polygamists and grumpy aunts a complete waste of time.