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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of Shaw)

Genre: Drama
Director: Richard Loncraine
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Chris Noth, Steven Weber, Logan Lerman, Robin Weigert, Kevin Bacon, Nick Stahl, David Koechner, J.C. MacKenzie, Eric McCormack
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Sexual References)
Official Website:

Opening Day: 21 January 2010


The tires of a baby-blue '53 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible squeal down the New York street, and none of its occupants looks back. The beautiful but mercurial Ann Devereaux (Renee Zellweger) has just left her philandering husband Dan Devereaux (Kevin Bacon), a society bandleader, and taken to the road with her teenage sons, George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall), in search of a wealthy replacement mate. Although it's 1953, Ann is certain that her girlish charms will serve her as well as they did two decades earlier.

But time has marched on since Ann's courting days, and it seems that the losers and playboys outnumber the eligible and willing bachelors. Ann never gives up hope, but a series of new schools for the boys, ever more humble lodgings and romantic misadventures start to take the gloss off their trip. Yet Ann is indefatigable, her pride matched by the flighty enthusiasm of her older son Robbie, a flamboyant boy who believes he is meant for a life on the stage, and the cynical wit of George, an observant aspiring writer. As the miles roll by, their journey veers from eccentric, to hair rising, to poignant, to comic.

From her impulsive choices to the downright bizarre characters they meet on the road, Ann steers her sons on a narrow highway between excitement and panic. But ultimately, George discovers the determination, dignity and love underneath his mother's narcissistic exterior. And Ann makes a different future for herself and her sons than any of them had imagined.

Movie Review:

I can't help but to think about the Singapore-Australian joint production The Home Song Stories when watching this film. After all, both are based on biographies and stories about Mothers who depend on their looks in order to bring up their children in a dysfunctional family structure, having little skill to work and make ends meet. And both involved travelling far and wide, and the meeting of different men and potential stepfathers, which form the bulk of the stories as they flit from point to point in an episodic manner.

Renee Zellweger plays Anne Deveraux, a Southern Belle who has two sons from different marriages - Robbie (Mark Rendall) and George (Logan Lerman), the latter whom will become the actor George Hamilton, and this is his mother's story, though written by Charlie Peters. Given that she has issued an ultimatum to her husband Dan (Kevin Bacon) on his philandering ways, they part unceremoniously, and with her she took the two boys, and whatever cash she can amass for a very spiffy looking car for a cross country road trip to figure out how they are to survive on their own, sans Dan.

The story becomes an incredible road trip adventure of sorts, with each pit stop made from the East coast to the West's Hollywood being an episode on a wash-rinse-repeat cycle of how she would look up or chance upon an old flame or a potential father figure, and then try to entice them into a relationship in the hopes of getting married. I suppose in those days with gender inequality, a single mom will find life hard to go by without a husband, and her obligation as she had felt would be to provide that father figure to her sons. There's plenty of drama and comedy to go around, which makes one look forward to just how each current episode would play out.

Much of the credit goes to the performances of the cast all round to keep it engaging. Renee Zellweger fits the bill as the clueless mother of two like hand in glove, balancing the fine line between ditzy in the ways of the world and determined to get her way no matter the costs. It's a little bit heartbreaking at times too, when Zellweger successfully brings out the pain of realizing that she's an attractive spring chicken no longer, and having to pander herself to the men in her life. The other scene stealer would be Mark Rendall as Robbie, George's half brother who aspires to be an actor, but never quite getting the opportunity in school plays because the family keeps on uprooting. Randall makes this role endearing, and is quite spot on with the effeminate mannerisms that define the role, and always never too far away from his knitting kit!

You have to give credit to director Richard Loncraine's attention to detail in this production with its authentic looking sets and costumes, and having to emphasize on the importance a family staying together despite differences and challenges faced. It's a delight to sit through and a crowd pleaser with scenes that will make you laugh out loud, or break out into a satisfying smile, only because of the depth of the characters exhibited in this unconventional road movie based on a true story.

Movie Rating:

(Plenty of heart and comedy to go around on this road trip!)

Review by Stefan Shih


. The Home Song Stories (2007)

. Miss Potter (2006)

. Where The Truth Lies (2005)

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