One can see why Katherine Heigl would want to star as Stephanie Plum in an adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s “One for the Money” on the big screen. A veteran of plenty of novels, Plum is an interesting character and with the right adaptation of the material it could vault her to the heights she was projected to be after Knocked Up established her as more than just a television star. Unfortunately nearly everything since hasn’t been the sort of success commercially or critically to take her there.
Her films have been profitable for the most part, using foreign grosses to cross into profitability, but she hasn’t had that singular domestic hit that people come out to en masse. It’s the one thing that separates her from being a television actress turned film actress as opposed to the next great movie star. And One for the Money won’t be that picture, either, because it’s not very good.
Heigl steps into the shoes of Plum, a former lingerie buyer at an upscale department store chain turned bounty hunter. Laid off and looking for work, she opts to become a bounty hunter for the lure of big money and some revenge. With her childhood policeman beau (Jason O’Mara) having skipped out on his bail hearing after a disputed shooting, Plum is hot on both his tail as well as the truth behind the shooting. And unfortunately the film suffers because Plum has been tailored to Heigl’s strengths as an ac tress as opposed to anything unique about the character herself being adapted by Heigl herself outside of a grating New Jersey accent.
The allure of Plum in the novel series has always been that of her flaws; she’s a flawed character but endearing because of them. In many ways it’s the kind of character Heigl generally tends to portray. One would suspect this ought to be in her wheelhouse and that Plum would be as good a fit as Allison Scott was in Knocked Up. Unfortunately it’s the opposite as Plum is just a flawed character as opposed to an endearing but flawed character; she’s more obnoxious and seemingly pretentious in the “cuteness” of her character as opposed to likeable. Heigl herself seems to be going through the motions as well. She’s been better and it seems the only difference between Plum and her reservoir of romantic comedy characters is the accent and hair change.
That’s not a good thing because the film just feels like any other Heigl vehicle as opposed to the beginning of a quirky, female-centric franchise.
There’s nothing in the film outside of the source material that would indicate otherwise. The story revolves around Plum trying to outwit her ex as well as put together a crime scene whose information is sketchy at best; she’s learning detective skills on the fly and it ought to be interesting to see a white collar worker get a little dirty in the criminal underworld. Unfortunately it becomes almost perfunctory as opposed to interesting; this is just another Katherine Heigl movie as opposed to being anything new or original.
And that’s the film’s big problem. If this was Heigl’s first film and she was trying to create her own Beverly Hills Cop, like so many have done and failed at before (Nick Cannon and Andrew Dice Clay most significantly) it would be one thing but she has an established career as a successful film actress so far. It reeks of trying to do the same film as before, the quirky romantic comedy, but trying to appeal to a built in audience due to the book’s success. One for the Money isn’t an interesting film and Katherine Heigl deserves better than just the New Jersey version of The Ugly Truth.
Director: Julie Anne Robinson Notable Cast: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds, Debra Monk, Nate Mooney Writer(s): Liz Brixius, Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray based off the novel “One for the Money” by Janet Evanovich
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others).