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Meets Moderate Expectations
6/10 The current score of this movie is 4 and unless you are a devoted fan of the books that's harsh. If you are in love with the twenty or so books you must have known less than two hours worth of movie will never compare, ever. I sympathize, beloved books are difficult to put on film, but this was actually rather amusing. On par with most romantic comedies and even better than some. It's not actually a romantic comedy though, an outlandish-girly-action-mystery-comedy is a more accurate description. The previews are representative of the film.5 years ago
I will say the PG-13 rating was forced, mostly in the "language" category. Cable TV after 10 pm has more bite. An R rating with a few swearing felons would have been a bit more realistic, especially since the sexual situations are more than a 13-year-old should be watching and the storyline definitely adult. The writers must have sacrificed 10 swears for 3 bras and a shower curtain or something equally un-creative.
The comedy was there, sexual and self-deprecating and physical as advertised. On opening weekend (with the $6 groupon) the theater was full and the audience was seated throughout and laughing regularly.
Eavesdropping, the book fans were a little disappointed but mostly because they know so much more about the characters at this point. They wanted more Lula and Grandma and quirky little side scenes they remembered from the novel. Katherine Heigl was not loved as Stephanie Plum, but not hated enough to curse. Expectations were met.
I will agree it wasn't worth $11.25, but a lot of movies aren't. As a matinee or a DVD, go for it.
A Nutshell Review: One for the Money
7/10 The trailer would remind you of the forgettable The Bounty Hunter starring Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston with the former being the titular character whose target happens to be his ex-wife, having them bicker and run from various misadventures together. Reverse the roles in order to have a female bounty hunter going after an ex-boyfriend, and the stage is set for more of the same, no? Not quite. One for the Money has a lot more going for it, predominantly being a film written by and made by females for its intended audience, and being an engaging flick chick that wonderfully encapsulates a whodunnit.5 years ago
Katherine Heigl seems to be on a successful roll on celluloid, and is in her element here in this romantic action adventure comedy as lead character Stephanie Plum, a rookie bounty hunter drawn to the profession only because she's desperate for a job to pay off impending bills. An ex-lingerie model, we follow her transition from girly girl to a somewhat tough cookie ready to hold her own in her cousin's business, where an added incentive is to hunt down and bring in her ex-boyfriend Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara), a cop wanted for the gunning down an unarmed felon.
Yes one would expect the usual laughs coming from her inexperience in a new field, her constantly being outwitted by slier opponents in the big bad town of Trenton, New Jersey, and having that pitch perfect sexual charisma with her mark since they share a common romantic history before in their youths. But to my surprise One for the Money has a little bit more depth in its story than I would have imagined, playing out like a mystery with a crime at hand to solve, with Stephanie stumbling her way from fact to fact, interacting with various interesting caricatures who don't bore, and plays out exactly like an 80s private detective film of old in spirit.
Written by Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray and Liz Brixius off the well received novel of the same name by Janet Evanovich, this probably accounts for a lot of female-centric focus on elements in the storyline, as well as director Julie Anne Robinson's ability to center this very much like a chick flick, wrapped around an old fashioned whodunnit. I mean, only in a story with an attractive female protagonist would you have other females in the story either old, or matronly, and having not one but two hunks - Morelli and fellow alpha-male bounty hunter Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) - involved at the crossroads of her life. Plenty of characterization goes into the lead character of Stephanie Plum, and Heigl brings a certain sass to the role, with little street smarts that cover for her lack of experience in the field.
Granted the mystery doesn't quite play out with that kind of tension and suspense as one would expect from a true blur genre film, but it does enough with its slight touch and managed to keep interest afloat. While there are 18 novels to date in the series of Stephanie Plum's adventures in bounty hunting, with each novel title starting with a number / numerically related, reality is that any subsequent film will have to rely on how much this makes at the box office. My bet is that it'll likely be something quite modest with a potential of 17 more films made only if Heigl wants to be stereotyped (if not already) or typecast. Still, One for the Money sits above average on the entertainment scale, and can be recommended fare if you'd give it a chance.
Not One For My Money
3/10 This movie was partially filmed in my home town so there was a natural curiosity to see the finished product after watching portions of the filming.5 years ago
I am going to try and give a basic review without adding spoilers for those who have followed the book series or my fellow neighbors that will be compelled to see this film.
There was a lot of potential with the story line. The acting by Debbie Reynolds and the street-walkers were the acting highlights. The lead actress (Heigl) was disconnected from the role, the lead male(O'Mara) was not utilized fully by the director? screen play?. The villains non-threatening and lacking ( John Leguizamo could have made a much needed positive impact on the film if they would have actually given him more than two scenes).
Overall the movie misses in the following ways: 1) Heigl was not convincing in the lead role. She was flat and failed to develop any interest or depth in character. 2) The plot was so predictable it was not even deserving of a place on a Made FOR TV line schedule. 3) I did not care for any of the characters nor the entanglements they were in.
The plus side:
1) Debbie Reynolds was great! 2) Sherri Sheperd ....great!
I would wait for this film to come to late night television so you could at least enjoy those extended length infomercials between bits of the movie.
I wanted to love One for the Money...I really did.
3/10 I wanted to love "One for the Money", and I should have. It had fantastic source material, a writer from one of my favorite shows ("Nurse Jackie"), and an actress from what used to be one of my favorite shows ("Grey's Anatomy"), but this film could not have been any more disastrous. There was a movie that I hated a few years ago called "The Bounty Hunter", with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. I felt like that film was as contrived as could be, and was unfunny, unromantic and incredibly unconvincing. I hate to say that "One for the Money fell into that same ball park.5 years ago
One of the reasons why I love the book, "One for the Money", by Janet Evanovich is because its heart, Stephanie Plum was an unapologetic badass, profane and saucy. I always pictured someone like Sandra Bullock playing the lead role, a born-and-raised Jersey girl who was down on her luck, who finds her inner badass through a series of misadventures, but ultimately comes out on top in the end.
I don't necessarily blame Katherine Heigl for ruining this movie. She did the best she could, even though her Jersey accent is laughably bad. She was simply miscast. She should have never discontinued her work on "Grey's Anatomy, because if these are the kinds of roles she's getting, her future's only going to get worse.
Julie Ann Robinson ("The Last Song") directed, who I blame for the movie's obviously unclear vision. You get the idea that she didn't know what she wanted this movie to be. Maybe she thought that after all of the books that had been written, fans don't remember the first chapter of the franchise. Did she and the rest of the filmmakers intend this to be a film franchise as well? You get the idea that no one really cared, given the film's messy ending and sitcom-y writing.
Liz Brixius (Nurse Jackie), Karen McCullah Lutz (Legally Blonde) and Kristen Smith (The Ugly Truth) are responsible for the travesty of a screenplay. Women ARE funny. There have been so many funny and smart movies that had primarily female writers, actors and directors, so why does this film seem misogynist? It's a mixed message, and an implication that I really don't like. Their version of Stephanie Plum is an idiot. She's not a saucy badass, like the one I loved in the books. Her profanity is turned down, too, because of the meaningless desire that the filmmakers must have had to get a PG-13 rating. Why would kids want to see this movie? Oh, of course...Katherine Heigl's inevitable "sideboob".
I enjoy the work of Liz Brixius, considering that she is the creator of one of my favorite shows, "Nurse Jackie". She has shown over the years that she knows how to properly illustrate complicated characters. She is not beyond character development, and making characters fully realized...so what went wrong here? Why didn't she scream at the other two writers, "what the hell are you doing?!"
I can only imagine how bad true fans of the books felt about this travesty. There are eighteen Stephanie Plum novels, plus short stories, novellas and crossovers. People clearly like this character, and there have got to be a bunch of true fans out there. The first book was written in 1994, and there was talk of a movie then. It had been in development hell since then, and it's a shame to say that it probably should have stayed there.
Some fun quirks and unpredictable points of view
7/10 This adaptation of Janet Evanivich's book is well done and a lot of fun. Katherine Heigl is excellent in the role of Stephanie Plum. Apparently the author considered Katherine perfect for this role after seeing her in another movie. I'm so glad it was directed by a woman and combines the chick flick aspect with the mystery/bounty hunter storyline. Women's dates will be well rewarded, by Heigl's charm and beauty, for being along for the ride.5 years ago
Heigl proves again what she showed in her television work in Grey's Anatomy and Roswell, that she's an excellent and versatile actress. She displays the vulnerability combined with toughness and a certain likable gullibility that are exactly as the book portrays the main character.
The movie is only 91 minutes long. Since the book and the movie depend more on the fun of getting to know the characters, including the first-person narrator, Stephanie Plum, it would have been so easy, and would have made it much better IMO, to include more scenes with the family, especially Grandma Mazur (Debbie Reynolds!), and with Lula (Sherri Shepherd is also wonderful). As it is, the "action" plot takes over in the second half, and it left me wishing for more of the fun character interactions.
Plum, Morelli and Ranger are really well portrayed and quite a lot like I imagined them while reading the book. This is light entertainment with a few quirks and unpredictable points of view, like the book, and overall a very enjoyable hour and a half.