Stephanie Plum, the starring character in Janet Evanovich's long-running book series, gets the big screen treatment for the first time in One for the Money, an adaptation of the first book. Based on the critical and financial reception of the film, it will also stand as the last time Stephanie Plum will be seen on the big screen. Despite being far from great, One for the Money does boast a casualness that works more often than not.
Attribute it to low expectations. Blame it on the terrible movie trailers. Assume it's because Katherine Heigl hasn't been in a good movie in five years. One for the Money is kind of sort of somewhat fun, if only because it does little to offend and does a lot to accentuate how attractive Katherine Heigl can be.
I'm a guy, and One for the Money is most definitely made for women. Plum (Heigl) loses her job at a lingerie store and, desperate for cash, decides to become a bounty hunter. The man she's hired to track down is a rogue cop (Jason O'Mara) who also happens to be an old high school crush, and so she's often conflicted by her need for money and her desire for Joe. She also has a flirtatious relationship with Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), and needs his help when she runs into trouble, which is often and ranges from gunfights to being handcuffed naked to a shower rod. I liked that scene.
But I'm a guy, and I still found One for the Money enjoyable. Immediately forgettable, but enjoyable. While their banter is cliché, Heigl and O'Mara have good chemistry together. Sunjata plays a good third wheel and also has good chemistry with Heigl.
The movie's actual plot isn't worth mentioning here, as I'm not sure there was one. Its purpose seems to have been to pit Heigl against O'Mara in comedic and charming ways, and to ignore anything that would resemble a real crime story. There's something about a pimp and prostitutes, blah blah blah, but less than 24 hours later I honestly can't recall anything of significance.
Nothing in One for the Money is very significant, unfortunately. If director Julie Anne Robinson (The Last Song) applied her own mark to this production, her mark must be by-the-numbers storytelling and an incredibly safe style. Her casual, don't-give-a-damn approach does pay off in some ways - had she taken the movie too seriously, the lack of a compelling plot would have been more glaring - but for what the studio must have hoped would have been the beginning of a franchise, she does a piss poor job of convincing anyone why another Stephanie Plum adventure is necessary.
Still, for what it is, One for the Money could have been a lot worse. It's harmless, flighty and fun, which, in the end, is what this movie was intended to be.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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