One for the Money (2012) Julie Anne Robinson

Production Budget: $40 million

Worldwide Gross: $36 million

One for the Money is based on one of a series of books by Janet Evanovich featuring her protagonist Stephanie Plum.  Plum is a former lingerie salesperson who decides to become a bounty hunter to pay her bills.  One of her first bounties is for an ex-cop and former boyfriend Joe (Jason O’Mara).  Romance is still present while Plum tries to get Joe’s bounty and solve his crime.

I’ve never read a Janet Evanovich, but I can’t help but feel fans would feel disappointed by the results of One for the Money.  This is despite Evanovich’s own statements she sees Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum.  There is a disconnect between what Plum is written to be and what Heigl thinks Plum should be.  Evanovich says the character is a cross between Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry.  I think it might be more apt to say a street smart version of Veronica Mars but whatever.  What ultimately comes out is what would be a starring vehicle for Fran Drescher in the 90’s.

I used the term ‘street smart‘ before because Plum should be able to maneuver her way through these situations.  I think a good example would be Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop.  He is not someone who is necessarily book smart, but is able to use his checkered past and gift of gab to get through his cases.  You wonder during One for the Money what makes Stephanie Plum so special since she is always the last to know things and everyone bails her out of bad situations.  Heigl plays Plum very ditzy with what I’m sure Heigl thinks is a hilarious Jersey accent.  That’s why I mentioned I see this more as a rom-com starring Fran Drescher.

Speaking of television, this movie reminds me of an extended pilot to a Stephanie Plum TV show rather than a Hollywood film.  There are no action scenes, only one explosion, and all of the humor is more tame than an episode of Two and a Half Men.  I’m not expecting Jack Reacher here but I guess the larger point is I’m not seeing why this character is so special.  One for the Money was obviously made to be the start of a franchise.  They needed to do something to establish itself and show to the uninitiated why this is a popular series, but it comes off as painfully bland.  I would even welcome Drecher because Katherine Heigl doesn’t even have the presence of an actor who can do an interesting goofy role.  If you have seen one Heigl performance you’ve seen them all.

This movie just bored the shit out of me and most of it was due to Plum.  She is so incompetent and cannot do anything right.  The plot seemed to move despite her trying to derail the whole thing.  I’m just sitting there waiting for the mystery to sort itself out becuase I know our protagonist isn’t going to add anything to the matter.  And it might be fine if it was played for comedy but all of the comedy was flat as well.  The plot is modeled after Out of Sight, but Heigl and O’Mara have none of the chemistry that Lopez and Clooney had.

I’m kind of struggling to fill a review because most of it boils down to “watch the trailer“ because that’s the movie.  Some trailers aren’t representative of what the movie is but this one is.  All of the humor, and I mean all of it, is contained in the trailer.  All of the action high points are in there and the only reasons you would see this movie are in the trailer.  In fact, consider it a short film instead of a trailer.  I would say all the unnecessary stuff has been edited out and you are left with all you need to know about One for the Money.  While none of the stuff in this movie was horrible or offensive, there is absolutely no reason to see it.  This TV show would have been cancelled after a few episodes due to lack of interest.  One for the Money killed any interest in making another Stephanie Plum movie ever again because of how boring and lifeless this one is.


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