One for the Money
Movie Review of One for the Money
Sometimes I have to wonder if I should give up reading books entirely –especially if there is even the slightest chance they might be made into a movie. The reason I say this is because, with only a handful of exceptions, the movie adaptation of a relatively good book is almost always less than stellar----and there’s few things in life more disappointing than a movie that takes a great story and tells it all wrong. You can now add “One for the Money” to that long and distinguished list.
THE GOOD: Author Janet Evanovich has spent the last 18 years creating the Stephanie Plum novels, about a Jersey girl who goes from selling lingerie in Trenton and being flat out broke, to working as a bounty hunter for her slimy cousin’s Bail Bond business and keeping herself in high heels. The books are highly entertaining, with suspense and humor in abundance, so you can imagine my delight---and, conversely, sense of impending doom---when I heard they were planning on making the first installment into a movie. “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let it be as good as the book” I pleaded with the hard of hearing movie gods. “And please let someone really good looking play Joe Morelli” I added in my next breath. Well, at least someone heard me on THAT issue.
Katherine Heigl was chosen to play the lead role of Stephanie Plum—amidst plenty of protest from Evanovich’s fans who felt she wasn’t right for the part. Personally, I wouldn’t have thought of her to fill those shoes in the first place, but she pulled off that Jersey City girl attitude (and accent) without overkill. Jason O’Mara plays the handsome Joe Morelli, an ex cop who stole Stephanie’s virtue in high school and who she has held a grudge against ever since, and whom she is now hired to track down and bring in for the sum of fifty thousand. As if she needed further motivation. To be fair, these two certainly have chemistry, even when they are trying hard to convince themselves they don’t. And with Heigl’s self deprecation and city girl cajones, she plays a likeable character. If that had been the only thing necessary to make this a great film, the stars would have been in alignment. Alas.
THE BAD: As mentioned previously, my expectations for this movie were probably different than someone who has NOT read the book, so I try to adjust my reviews to fit an audience that go into this movie totally blind and not expecting anything in particular. But even given that criteria, it seems that the plot line was a little thin and splotchy. There were a few laughs scattered here and there, but overall this came across as a reverse role version of “The Bounty Hunter”, and I think we all know what the general consensus was on THAT movie. And although I didn’t disagree with the casting of the two lead roles, just about everyone else fell short. I can’t be certain, but I think the director was hoping to pull off a “Betty White” feel to Grandma Mazur (played by Debbie Reynolds). If that was his intention, it might have been a slightly better plan to actually get Betty White in the role…she certainly could have done wonders to add to the humor element in my opinion. And although I make an attempt to take an overview from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the book, the fact remains that I HAVE, and I have to be honest---Janet Evanovich’s wit and penchant for telling a great story deserves better than this. It’s not that I ever let out any audible groans, but I kept waiting for it to be the great story I knew it was capable of being. The good news is that if you HAVENT read the book, you won’t be playing that waiting game.
THE UGLY: I don’t think there will be any dispute on this one. Stephanie has to bring in an elderly man from her apartment building that has missed his court date. And as fate would have it, he’s a nudist. Let your minds roam where they will. I think Heigl’s line says it best when she refers to his “twigs and berries” not being such a bad thing to deal with when it meant she was going to get paid for hauling him in.
If you are looking for something relatively amusing to see with your significant other, this movie has enough romance and Jason O’Mara to appeal to the ladies, as well as a few action scenes—and Heigl in the shower—to entertain the guys. But I think you’ll have more fun staying home and reading the book to each other.
The Trophy Wife gives this movie 3 trophies.
One for the Money has a running time of 106 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity