Here are the formalities; ‘One for the Money’ is based on the first Stephanie Plum Novel which Janet Evanovich published in 1994 when the height of working class decadence was to have a car phone. I think most fans of the series, which numbers 22 books thus far, will be pleased with the film. ‘One for the Money’ contains the same spirit of the novels with the humor, the sex appeal, and the unlikely plot consequences. It is exactly what movies made for those of us born with uteruses want in our escapism…but you would never know it from the responses of mainstream critics.
I’m sure most movie lovers are aware of the website Rotten Tomatoes, but if you are not, Rotten Tomatoes is a site that gathers the opinions of various critics and rates movies based on the general response. If a film has over 60% of the polled critics favoring it than it receives a nice red tomato by its title, if however it fails to meet that threshold it gets a green rotten tomato. ‘One for the Money’, as of this writing, has a 3% rating, for a while it had zero. Listen, I’m well aware that films like ‘One for the Money’ don’t normally wow critics, but really…3%? Wait, now its 2%! I can’t help think that something else is going on.
Katherine Heigl’s breakout film performance was in 2007’s ‘Knocked Up’ where she was oddly teamed with a physically unfit Seth Rogan whose main activity was smoking pot while she was a perky pretty on air personality on the E Network…it really felt lop sided in terms of a one night stand let alone an actual relationship. She said of it, “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It was hard for me to love the movie.” Her comment applies to many a Hollywood comedy – anything where the ‘girlfriend’ character was painted no deeper than two dimensional with a set of breasts. In many ways it was refreshing to read an emerging female star tell it like it was. However the response, primarily from either males in the business and those that blog about Hollywood, was that she was an ingrate. She backtracked a bit and stated, “Although I stand behind my opinion, I’m disheartened that it has become the focus of my experience with the movie. The truth is, it was the best filming experience of my career. Every person that was a part of making ‘Knocked Up’ helped to encourage, support and inspire me. I never intended for anyone to think otherwise.” Unfortunately Heigl’s fate was sealed…she was an ingrate actress. Things got more complicated when she said some things about her role on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (a show I have never watched so I don’t have an opinion.) That didn’t mean she wasn’t allowed to make some really horrible romantic comedies, but when their box office headed south so did her career (actually none of her movies have been that disastrous in terms of making back their budget) . She recently commented to the effect that her role as Stephanie Plum would either continue her movie career or she would have to turn back to TV.
I don’t know if ‘One for the Money’ is going to save Heigl from returning to episodic television, but it didn’t do well at the box office although I think it might be redeemed once it hits DVD and On Demand. Despite the lack of critical support audiences gave it a 60% approval rating. Along with Heigl the film stars Jason O’Mara as Joe Morelli (who, if he plays his cards right, could be an A lister easily) Daniel Sunjataas Ranger, Sherry Shepherd as Lulu and Debbie Reynolds as Grandmother Mazur. Sure, parts of it are corny and some scenes could have withstood a rewrite, but I think screen writers Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray, and Liz Brixius along with the director Julie Anne Robinson updated the material to give it a current feeling without betraying the elements that fans of the book loved. Wait, that was a lot of estrogen I just listed…I think I solved why the Hollywood Male Establishment didn’t support this film. To further take them to task, the majority of what I read from the male critics who hated ‘Money’ it was obvious they had not read the novel because the parts of the storyline they harped on most were taken directly from the novel. Most of all Heigl sells Plum who is far from perfect but has street smarts and has more than a little bit of bite to her.
‘One for the Money’ is probably on its way to the nearest discount theater near you. I felt that I got my money’s worth seeing it in a first run theater with a friend. It would make a good date film, film to see with a friend/s, as well as a multi-generational film. It won’t be winning any awards, but it is fun. If you don’t see it in the theater check it out on DVD.