Mark Rendall, left, Renée Zellweger and Logan Lerman light things up. (Freestyle Releasing)
A sweet and witty little film like "My One and Only" may not get much noise in the movie marketplace these days, but it certainly deserves some respect. Part road trip, part coming-of-age story, the film ultimately reveals itself as a Hollywood memoir, but it saves any stardust for its last moments.
Which is just as well, because the story of Anne Devereaux (Renée Zellweger) and her sons George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall) stands fine on its own. The feisty Anne, a former Southern belle of a certain age in the 1950s, takes her two boys and leaves her philandering but good-natured bandleader husband Dan (Kevin Bacon) as the film begins.
With little money and only her looks as a resource, she heads to Boston to look for a husband. And then to Pittsburgh. And then to St. Louis, jerking the boys in and out of school along the way, getting by on the kindness of strangers and marriage proposals that never seem to work out.
For the flamboyant Robbie, it's all a lark, although he keeps leaving behind lead roles in stage productions. George, though, craves some stability and wants to return to his father.
Directed by Richard Loncraine, the script by Charlie Peters has some delightful lines -- "I like to think. It clears the mind," an oblivious character says at one point -- and the always wonderful Robin Weigert pops up as Mary's settled sister in the movie's center. Noteworthy throughout is young Lerman -- he played Russell Crowe's son in "3:10 to Yuma" -- a potential star.
And then there's the scrunch-faced beauty of Zellweger, playing a woman who can't accept she's past her prime, desperate to avoid desperation. Simply put, the spunk still works.
"My One and Only" is a solid, small film with a big heart and a fine cast, well worth seeing. And the reveal at the end is a kick.