One for the Money (Rated PG-13)
- Starring Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, Debbie Reynolds
- Directed by Julie Anne Robinson
- Plot: A recently-fired lingerie salesman takes a job as a bounty hunter to make ends meet and her first assignment is to bring in a cop wanted for murder…who just so happens to be an old flame.
If you’ve never read the Stephanie Plum book series by Janet Evanovich, you might find One for the Money to be a passable, if uninspired romantic comedy. If you have read Evanovich’s hilarious series, I can’t help but think you’ll be disappointed.
For starters – the casting. It’s a risk any time you see a favorite book transferred to the big screen. The characters you’ve envisioned in your head might not be the same as what the studio suits think you want to see. I can’t think of any movie in recent history more miscast than One for the Money.
For starters, Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum? The big-haired, loud-mouthed, Jersey-born-and-raised Plum is about as far from Katherine Heigl as you can get. I can only think the fact that exec-produced the project probably meant she saw herself as the character. I like Jason O’Mara. I think he was wonderful as the patriarch of the Shannon family on Fox’s Terra Nova, but what is the Dublin born actor doing in the role as the second generation Italian cop,Joe Morelli? He’s talented, but he does nto fit the role at all. And then there’s Daniel Sunjata who is a complete fail as Ranger. I’m comfortable enough in my heterosexuality to admit that Sunjata is a very pretty man, but other than eye-candy, he is nothing like the character in the book. Ranger is supposed to be this sexy but dangerous larger than life character and Sunjata fails to bring any mystery to the character at all. I’m not sure if this is a script problem or an acting problem, but I always had envisioned Ranger as a younger Cuban version of Sam Elliot. Sunjata wasn’t it. Sherry Shepherd is passable as the larger-than-life prostitute Lula, but even she seems to be too restrained in the role.
The one bright spot in the casting was putting Debbie Reynold in the role of the batty but tough-as-nails Grandma Mazur. Unfortunately her role is diminished to that of an extended cameo so she never really gets to the opportunity to shine like she does in the books.
The movie follows the storyline of the book pretty well, as the out-of-work Stephanie takes a job as a recovery agent for her cousin. With the promise of a $50,000 for his return, Stephanie sets out to bring in Joe Morelli, a cop charged with murdering an unarmed man. The catch – Morelli and Stephanie have a history together – which includes a few grudges and a whole lot of sexual tension. Out of her league, Stephanie soon gets the help of an expert in the field, Ranger. With his help and a whole cast of oddball characters, Stephanie sets out to get her man.
With more than 18 books in the series, it’s obvious that Heigl is hoping for a franchise. I can’t imagine the movie will do well enough to justify it…at least not without a major recasting.
According to IMDB, Heigl, O’Mara, Sunjata and actress Debra Monk (who plays Stephanie’s mom) all appeared on Grey’s Anatomy. The director also worked on the show, so it was obviously a bit of a reunion.
And ultimately, the movie comes across as a movie more for fans of Grey’s Anatomy and not for fans of the book series.
One for the Money is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references, and language.
If you live in the Ames area, One for the Money is showing at the Ames Cinemark Movies 12. Follow the link for showtimes. If you don’t live in Ames, check out Fandango.com for a theater near you.