"The One and Only" is light and predictable, a Carl Reiner-directed romantic comedy that tries too hard for laughs. It begins as a conventional tale.
Young, arrogant actor-on-the-make Andy Schmidt (Henry Winkler), who would run over his grandmother for applause, steals the college sweetheart (Kim Darby) of would-be-doctor. They marry (to the horror of her parents) and it's off to New York, where Andy stumbles about for a job and tiptoes the marital minefield.
Is's here that the action twists off one beaten path onto another. Andy meets a 3'11" midget wrestler named Milton (Herve Villechaize), also starving and in search of The Break.
Andy, says Milton, meet my sleazo, antacid-chomping wrestling promoter, Sidney (Tony Award-winning director Gene Saks). Sidney, who also guzzles laxatives to purge claim to a gay son, secures Andy a title match as a Gorgeous George type who sugarcoats violence with smooches.
If all this sounds like simple jigsaw-puzzle comedy, it is. The players, with Reiner's coaxing, struggle to ennoble the nonsensical, if original, screenplay, written by co producer Steve Gordon, a former New York ad man with a trail of commercials and TV scripts to his credit.
Winkler fans should find Henry as Andy an obnoxiously delightful departure from Fonzarella. And let it be reported that Kin Darby, who should be fagged out from hard times and a brood of babies born in television guest spots, enlivens sitcom motherhood as Andy's wife.
In spite of itself, "The One and Only" is sprinkled with a few laughs. It's harmless, makes no offense and - sigh! - should appeal to wholesome folks in search of a PG-free Sunday afternoon. Still, you can't help wondering how the players might have scored in another game.