Katherine Heigl’s name is becoming increasingly synonymous with slightly underpar movies. It’s a great shame as she’s actually a very good actress. Her work in Grey’s Anatomy was incredibly strong, winning her an Emmy, and it was due to this and Knocked Up that it looked like she’d have a strong movie career. However the likes of The Ugly Truth, Killers and now One For The Money suggest she’s either not very good at picking projects, or she’s only being offered second string flicks.
To be honest, you can understand why she’d think One For The Money would be a good idea. It’s based on Janet Evanovich’s incredibly popular Stephanie Plum novels and was obviously set up in the hope of creating a franchise. Unfortunately the end result is limp, rather silly and while not actively bad, doesn’t have much that’s truly good about it.
Stephanie Plum (Heigl) is recently divorced, unemployed and desperately in need of cash. It order to try and make some quick money, she agrees to take a job at her cousin’s bail-bonds business, working as a bounty hunter. Her first assignment is to bring in Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), a policeman who’s up to his neck in trouble and on the run. He’s going to be tough to capture, but Stephanie has added impetus to catch him, as it would be revenge for the fact he took her virginity as a teen and then dumped her. However, as Stephanie gets to work, seemingly disconnected things start to tie together in her head and she begins to think there’s a bigger conspiracy at works, and that possible witnesses to this are being killed.
It’s a decent enough plot – as Janet Evanovich’s novel proved – but the film’s main issue is one of tone. It presents a light, airy, rom-com feel, where no matter how serious the situation, it can all be covered up with a smile and a laugh. Early on it’s not too much of an issue, but it becomes more incongruous as it goes along, so that when a dark conspiracy is revealed, people are being murdered and even people Plum has befriended are being attacked, it’s treated almost flippantly. And if the film does seem to care, why should the audience?
All of this is further deadened by an overbearing voiceover, which is horribly written, constantly explains the blindingly obvious and is used an a obvious crutch by the film – indeed, I’d be willing to bet there was either far less or no voiceover in the original script, as it feels tacked on (probably due to audience comments at test screenings).
It’s all a bit of a shame really, as you get the sense that if they’d actually just told the story rather than trying to force it to be something it isn’t, it could have been quite fun. Instead it’s all a bit of a mismatch, with the cast doing their best but fighting an uphill battle against a movie that seems intent on being as irrelevant as possible due to a light, blow-away tone despite some rather dark elements. Hell, even Debbie Reynolds as Plum’s grandmother doesn’t help, and she’s usually a guarantee of perking up a film whenever she’s on screen.
The special features include an okay ‘making of…’ featurette, an amusing gag reel and a deleted scene. It’s alright, but not exactly an amazing selection. It adds up to a disc that may make an okay rental if you’re looking for something slight, silly and which will pass the time. However you’re unlikely to want to see it more than once, and may wonder what the point of it was even on your first viewing.
Overall Verdict: One For The Money’s attempts to make it a generic run of the mill rom-com jar with its rather dark thriller story elements, resulting in a movie that’s a lot less than it could have been.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac