by Corey Hall
Wait a second. Did they really make a George Hamilton biopic? Yup, they did, and it seems that decades before he became a cheesy, bronzed-out '70s matinee idol, young Georgie (Logan Lerman) was a pasty, hyper-smart teen with literary aspirations, and a knack for acerbic commentary on the chaos around him. Most of said chaos rises from his high-strung, Southern belle ma (Zellweger), who catches her cheating bandleader hubby (a well-cast Kevin Bacon) with yet another young chippy, and decides to flee the coop, dragging George and his brother along for the ride.
Her survival strategy involves hauling her sons across country in a Cadillac convertible and exploiting her fading looks to lure in a sugar daddy to provide for their expensive tastes.
Her suitors include a worrying number of NBC (circa 1990s) prime-time vets, including Chris Noth, Eric McCormack and Steven Weber, who each saunter in, prove unworthy, and then promptly vanish. Zellweger bats her eyelashes, and sports a fusty "I do declah" Southern drawl, but with her Gollum-like features it's difficult to guess what these gents see in her.
Swishy older brother Robbie (Mark Rendall) is keen to be an actor, but we know it's George who's destined to make it in show biz, so the long road to the inevitable Hollywood ending grows interminable. This vagabond clan drifts from one screwball scenario to the next, but Richard Loncraine directs with such breeziness that it's near impossible to muster concern when things occasionally turn serious. While a mildly amusing ride, the drama here's as stale as scones at a Rotary Club picnic, cursed with a sort of Lifetime movie-of-the-week haziness around the edges.
The flick does nail 1950s period details; it's handsomely shot and boasts stellar production design. In a nice little touch Detroit's own alt-country stalwart Dan John Miller (Blanche) pops up as a car salesman, and, as Warren Zevon would say, his hair is perfect.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.