Reviews - Major Releases


Film Review: One for the Money

Janet Evanovich’s best-selling Stephanie Plum series deserved better than this woefully executed, stillborn attempt at a franchise.

Jan 27, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1306358-One_Money_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It took 18 years for a screen version of Janet Evanovich’s best-selling comic thrillers about New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to hit the screen, and it should take little more than a weekend to erase any chance of it becoming a franchise. Starring a painfully awkward Katherine Heigl, One for the Money mostly resembles a failed television pilot, a feeling which is only reinforced by its late-January release and failure to be screened for critics.

Sporting brown hair, a drab wardrobe and a wobbly Jersey accent as the unemployed former lingerie saleswoman turned “recovery agent,” Heigl tries hard throughout. But she’s undone by the schizophrenic nature of the material, which unsuccessfully wavers from comedy to thriller without scoring on either front.

Director Julie Anne Robinson, working from a screenplay by Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray and Liz Brixius, seems to be trying for dark humor, as evidenced by such episodes as a character being blown to bits by a car bomb essentially becoming a punch line. It also is telling that the only two senior citizens on display are a geriatric exhibitionist and a dotty grandma (Debbie Reynolds, in a career nadir) who shoots a gun at a turkey dinner.

The cutesy plot revolves around Plum’s first assignment, to capture a possibly corrupt and murderous cop (Jason O’Mara) who also happened to relieve her of her virginity years earlier. The tiresome cat-and-mouse game between the gruff fugitive and his clearly still-enamored pursuer resembles a gender-switching variation of 2010’s The Bounty Hunter, and we all know how well that film turned out.

Strangely, while there’s little romantic chemistry between Heigl and O’Mara, there’s plenty between her and Daniel Sunjata as a mentoring fellow bounty hunter whom Plum describes as “Michelangelo’s David dipped in caramel” and who rescues her on several occasions. Sunjata’s droll underplaying enlivens every scene he’s in, providing a taste of what the film might have been.

Several of the supporting players deliver entertainingly pungent comic turns, including Sherri Shepherd as a gregarious hooker, Fisher Stevens as an ill-fated rival of Plum’s and Patrick Fischler as her bail-bondsman cousin. On the other hand, John Leguizamo, as a sleazy boxing-gym owner, deserves far better material.

Although the film’s official running time is listed as 106 minutes, it actually seemed closer to 90. Not that anyone’s going to be complaining.
The Hollywood Reporter



Film Review: One for the Money

Janet Evanovich’s best-selling Stephanie Plum series deserved better than this woefully executed, stillborn attempt at a franchise.

Jan 27, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1306358-One_Money_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It took 18 years for a screen version of Janet Evanovich’s best-selling comic thrillers about New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to hit the screen, and it should take little more than a weekend to erase any chance of it becoming a franchise. Starring a painfully awkward Katherine Heigl, One for the Money mostly resembles a failed television pilot, a feeling which is only reinforced by its late-January release and failure to be screened for critics.

Sporting brown hair, a drab wardrobe and a wobbly Jersey accent as the unemployed former lingerie saleswoman turned “recovery agent,” Heigl tries hard throughout. But she’s undone by the schizophrenic nature of the material, which unsuccessfully wavers from comedy to thriller without scoring on either front.

Director Julie Anne Robinson, working from a screenplay by Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray and Liz Brixius, seems to be trying for dark humor, as evidenced by such episodes as a character being blown to bits by a car bomb essentially becoming a punch line. It also is telling that the only two senior citizens on display are a geriatric exhibitionist and a dotty grandma (Debbie Reynolds, in a career nadir) who shoots a gun at a turkey dinner.

The cutesy plot revolves around Plum’s first assignment, to capture a possibly corrupt and murderous cop (Jason O’Mara) who also happened to relieve her of her virginity years earlier. The tiresome cat-and-mouse game between the gruff fugitive and his clearly still-enamored pursuer resembles a gender-switching variation of 2010’s The Bounty Hunter, and we all know how well that film turned out.

Strangely, while there’s little romantic chemistry between Heigl and O’Mara, there’s plenty between her and Daniel Sunjata as a mentoring fellow bounty hunter whom Plum describes as “Michelangelo’s David dipped in caramel” and who rescues her on several occasions. Sunjata’s droll underplaying enlivens every scene he’s in, providing a taste of what the film might have been.

Several of the supporting players deliver entertainingly pungent comic turns, including Sherri Shepherd as a gregarious hooker, Fisher Stevens as an ill-fated rival of Plum’s and Patrick Fischler as her bail-bondsman cousin. On the other hand, John Leguizamo, as a sleazy boxing-gym owner, deserves far better material.

Although the film’s official running time is listed as 106 minutes, it actually seemed closer to 90. Not that anyone’s going to be complaining.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Major Releases

Men, Women & Children
Film Review: Men, Women & Children

Families in a Texas suburb face problems in this well-meaning but simplistic melodrama. More »

Pride
Film Review: Pride

Disarming true-life tale of gay activists who lend their support to a community of striking Welsh miners during the Thatcher era. A marketing challenge, but word of mouth should be strong. More »

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

The Boxtrolls
Film Review: The Boxtrolls

Another amazingly meticulous and stylish stop-motion tale from the Laika studio, this time focusing on a boy adopted by a population of maligned underground trolls. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

The Boxtrolls
Film Review: The Boxtrolls

Another amazingly meticulous and stylish stop-motion tale from the Laika studio, this time focusing on a boy adopted by a population of maligned underground trolls. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here