Saturday, September 05, 2009

Logan Lerman ("The Kid") rules the world (again) in "My One and Only", a 50s period indie comedy

Logan Lerman again proves that, at age of 16 or 17 now, he can dominate a movie or show. His latest is the ambitious indie 50s period comedy, “My One and Only” (2009; site) directed by Richard Loncraime, from Herrick Entertainment, Merv Grffin Productions, George Hamilton Productions, and Freestyle Releasing (which appears to be related to Lionsgate). Once again, we have independent film with big and upcoming A-list stars: most of all, Renee Zellweger as Anne Deveraux; Logan as her teenage son George, Kevin Bacon (who, at 51 and grizzled, seems to have grown some chest scraggle since that June 1999 “Weekly Standard” article by David Skinner, “Notes on the Hairless Man”) as the hubbie (Dan) New York band leader (aka Ricky Ricardo from “I Love Lucy – the movie actually excerpts 50s sitcom “Life with Elizabeth” without that punchline “aren’t you ashamed?”) ; Nick Stahl as Bud (Nick has aged since “In the Bedroom” and Bud does remind me a bit of “Bud Stamper” from “Splendor”); and Mark Rendall as George’s “obviously gay” brother Robbie.

The movie is told from George’s point of view as narrator, and here the narration works because George is on his way to becoming a writer, storyteller, and actor. When hubbie Dan bolts, Anne takes her two sons on a long roadtrip, with stops in Boston, St. Louis, and eventually in Hollywood. Early on, there is a line that George must be the “man” of the family because his older brother is so nelly (always knitting). It’s like a baseball roadtrip all right, without a losing streak. When they get separated and a hitchhiker tries to rob Anne, Robbie rises to the occasion and plays “pink pistols”. We root for Robbie to continue his career as an actor after a tornado cancels his play, but once on the set in Hollywood he doesn’t have the poise to render his lines. Superman brother George steps in with the acting career, and Robbie becomes a costume maker. But you get the felling that Robbie got "bumped" by his younger but dominating brother (nevertheless, Robbie can handle a gun).

That’s how Lerman plays it: he is kind of Clark Kent without the buff bulk, but the same kind of moral intelligence. But he is like that in all his films. Even at 13, in the WB series “Jack and Bobby”, he protected his mother from a suitor on a camping trip when he says, “just because I’m a kid you think I don’t see things. Well, I do.” He uses big words (“aphorisms”) when buying a Cadillac for his mother in the opening scene (I loved the forced negotiation sequence, having just bought a Focus myself). Remember how he manipulated the banker played by Aaron Eckhart in “Meet Bill”. He’s almost the same character here, “The Kid”.

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