One for the Money (2012) - Stephanie Plum, Bounty Hunter

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One for the Money
I think Katherine Heigl is one of the brightest stars on-screen today. Each of her movies consistently entertain (or those I have seen are) and she has a persona on-screen that exudes charm. Excoriated for her recurring roles in romantic-comedies by critics, Heigl has nevertheless continued to star in effervescent movies, and as long as the movie brings in moviegoers who cares what those critics say?
Initially, this movie was one I planned on just renting but when it came right down to it and my mom also expressing an interest in seeing this one, it seemed inevitable that we’d head out to the big screen to see One for the Money.

No one needs to tell Stephanie Plum (Heigl) how difficult it is to make ends meet. For the last six months she has been unemployed as a Macy's department manager. As a result, her debts are catching up to her. She's driving a car she can no longer afford, her rent is in arrears and if it wasn’t for her mother’s traditional family dinners, she’d never enjoy a decent meal. Grandma (Debbie Reynolds) encourages Stephanie to talk to her cousin Vinny about a job. Somewhat apprehensive about working for the guy (after all, he did try to make out with her at her wedding), Stephanie is desperate enough to work for her cousin, only when she gets there she finds out they no longer need anyone for the job. Unless she's willing to take an alternative job – working as a bail bonds recovery agent, no less! Her skepticism and need for “quick cash” is outweighed when she is handed a case file that has her ex-boyfriend’s name on it. 

Joe Morelli (Jason O’ Mara) is the boy in high school that every girl wanted to date and he is the one boy, Stephanie thought she had caught. Now a cop who has been accused of murder, Joe is out to prove his maintained innocence. Determined to bring Joe in and collect the reward, it becomes a competition between the two to see who will come out the victor.

With help from experienced bounty-hunter-turned-private-security-consultant Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), Stephanie just may be getting a knack for this bounty hunter thing – little does she know that the case involving Joe puts her in way over her head. 

Based on a series of books, there is nothing much to this film except for its superb ability to entertain. Right from the opening credits (which are adorable), the movie promised a fun 90 minutes. Prior to seeing it, someone told me that this one was darker than she expected, and I completely agree with her. The story itself might lean towards being cliché in some of its subplots but One for the Money threw in a surprise by not just being comprised of the material shown in a two-minute trailer spot; some trailers give away every one of its “cards,” this one doesn’t. Doing so can be detrimental to the movie, other times it can be an asset. For this movie, I chose to view it from the latter’s perspective. Actually, the script is more than a mere comedy. Yes, there are moments of hilarity that considerably lighten the mood but really the film is a decent, intriguing mystery in need of solving. And, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the puzzle.

One for the Money
As with nearly every other book-to-screen adaptation, I’ve not read the same-title novel on which this one is based, but I’d imagine that this compliments author Janet Evanovich’s work. (Ironically this is the second movie based off of this novel – its first was a televised film back in 2002.) I don’t know how they stack up against their written characters, but everyone was well cast, which in turn makes each of the characters a fun study. (Depending on how one looks at it, you may or may not find the continuous commentary of Stephanie telling her story annoying.) Heigl was, of course, great and managed a convincing Jersey accent that does slip on occasion, and it was fun to see Jason in a good-guy role. Jason and Katherine played off each other quite well; their witty banter and obvious chemistry was fun to watch develop. Despite earning points for being the more responsible guy of the two, there is never an inclination that Stephanie and Ranger are interested in one another romantically – or if there was meant to be, no sparks were evident between the two of them.

I don’t regret having seen this one prior to its debut on DVD. Its more serious bent was something unexpected and somehow it did work for the movie, and all without trying to be the next action film. Only the first in a long line of “Stephanie Plum” books, I wouldn’t mind seeing the studio bring more of her adventures to the big-screen despite my doubts of seeing such a thing realized. The numbers were just not there for this one, and if there is one thing that studios and filmmakers like, it's the power of the almighty box office dollar.

Has anyone read this book? If so, I’d love to know what you thought.

- One for the Money (Ruth’s review)
CONTENT: the film is rated PG13 for a series of tense moments and some gunfire; two dudes are shot in self defense – one has five rounds into the heart. Two other baddies are shot in the head; it is revealed that a hooker is murdered. Stephanie befriends another hooker [inappropriate dress].  A couple of sexual innuendoes are present including a joke about a man who likes to walk around naked everywhere [Stephanie brings him in for jumping bail once] and references to losing one’s virginity, and we see Steph in her underwear a time or two. She also gets caught naked in the shower in which the camera barely avoids full frontal nudity [eventually she is seen wrapped in a shower curtain]. There are a lot of misuses of Jesus and GD in addition to milder profanity like sh*t.


  1. I didn't like this as a book (I even tried the audio) but I am really looking forward to trying it as a film.

  2. Great to know, Juju - thanks! =) I was curious about the book(s) because that way I'd get to follow more of Stephs adventures but I was far too skeptical to try them. ;D

    The movie is a lot of fun - enjoy it when you see it. =)

  3. I've been seeing these books everywhere for years but the covers never appealed to me so I never picked them up! I guess I should give them a try and then try to see this. Glad to know it's good!!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  4. Really glad you stopped by, Renee - it has been too long. =)

    Since I enjoyed the film I did wonder about the books but thus far my question to my readers has turned up two "so-so" answers. I was skeptical about trying the novels to begin with so I may just enjoy the movie as is. ;D

  5. I actually looked for the book a few days ago at the library and didn't find it! I'll have to look at the main branch. I've seen these books for years but never even thought to pick them up. Then I saw Katherine Heigl in the movie preview, and I love her, so I definitely want to see the movie and hopefully read the book before then.

  6. Hope you do find it [the book] at your library, Annie!

    I love all of the movies I've seen Katherine in - this one was equally as entertaining. I look forward to knowing what you thought of the novel if you get the chance to read it. =)

  7. I read a sample of the book online and I thought it was really good. Now I want to read the rest of the book. =}

    I really enjoy Katherine Heigl as well.

  8. I should do that sometime, Jen - great idea, thanks! That might give me an idea as to whether or not I'd even like the book. Since I liked the movie, I did wonder about the book on which it was based.

    Agree: Katherine's movies are always SO entertaining. =)

  9. HI JEN!!! ;)

    Glad you enjoyed this movie too, Rissi!

  10. Me, too, Ruth - so fun. =D

  11. Hi Ruth!

    One of the things I love about my Kindle is the samples. =D

    I just watched 27 Dresses last night. Katherine is a lot of fun to watch.

  12. I am more of a holding-a-real-book-in-my-hands kind of girl but... I think sites like Amazon and other on-line places do offer "previews" of novels, so I'll have to check into that.

    Isn't 27 Dresses just adorable??? I love that one - really should watch it again (which will make my dad say, you guys are watching this one - again!? ;D).

  13. I really want to see this. It didn't come to any theaters around me so I'll have to wait to see it on DVD.... I'm glad you thought it was good because some other people I've talked to and read their review hated it, so I was really bummed. But after reading your review I'm excited to see it again.

  14. Yep! This one was a LOT of fun, Leah. I enjoyed it as a good old-fashioned "popcorn flick." I am really surprised that it didn't open around you, but understand that because my "local" theater can be picky about what it gets also. =)

    Really happy you decided to comment - I always love reading others thoughts. =D

  15. Haven't read the book, but love Katherine Heigl films - I managed to miss it at the cinema but think i'll risk the dvd...! :)

  16. I own it on DVD now, Sarah and I actually really enjoyed this one despite critic's view of it. It isn't as funny as it wants you to think but nevertheless is worth seeing. :-)



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