The movie adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s book, “One For the Money,” was torn apart by the press. A reviewer for New York Magazine headlined his piece, “Don’t Spend Money on One for the Money.” Critics describe the film as “unnatural,” “not worth it,” “painful,” and simply “bad” and “void of romance and laughs.” Ouch.
I’m not here to argue I disagree. Bottom line, the film isn’t that great. No nominations will be cast, no awards will be won. However, it’s really not that bad either, especially for me, a huge fan of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series (all 18 of them suckers fill an entire row on my bookshelf!)
“One For the Money” features Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl), a 30-something Trenton, New Jersey girl down on her luck. After losing her job as a lingerie saleswoman and having her car repossessed during dinner with her folks (Debra Monk and Louis Mustillo) and granny (Debbie Reynolds), she needs a job, pronto! Well … according to her mother, she needs a man to provide for her. Anyway, keeping it in the family is the Jersey way, so she seeks out her bail bondsmen cousin Vinny for a job and forgets about the man, especially since she’s recently divorced.
Yadda yadda yadda, Stephanie takes on the role of a recovery agent of sorts with her eye on catching old flame and Trenton heartthrob Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara) for a $500K pay day. With a checkered past — Stephanie ran over Morelli with her car after he popped her cherry in high school and never called after — the relationship between cat and mouse features confused sexual tension as well as further confusion over whether Morelli is being set up for murder.
With help from bounty hunter extraordinaire Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) and friendly hooker Lula (Sherri Shepherd), Stephanie works to track down her man and not get killed along the way. Insert a deranged boxer (Gavin-Keith Umej) and a few colorful FTAs and you got yourself an Evanovich thriller.
Lemme be honest, I entered the movie theatre with lowered expectations. Considering I’m not a fan of Katherine Heigl, especially when cast as my hero Stephanie Plum (they couldn’t be more opposite), my hopes were at an all time low. However, I saw the movie because of my admiration for Stephanie and her hijinks. I wanted to see these characters — Joseph Morelli, Ranger and Lula especially — larger than life on the big screen! These characters whom I’ve spent a lot of time with — 18 books worth. I missed them.
The whole experience reminded me of the “Twilight” films. Yeah, the first one is pretty bad but I didn’t care because I wanted another chance to spend time with these characters and relive the story I spent hours and hours reading, pouring over pages, crying, laughing, cheering. My dear old friends!
Was “One For the Money” everything I dreamed it would be? Absolutely not! I know the studio wanted that PG-13 rating but Grandma Mazur wasn’t inappropriately spunky enough for my taste. Less wino and more blue haired sex fiend! Vinny, known for having sexual relations with a duck, was decent but I could have used a ponytail and more sleaze. Speaking of ponytails, I pictured Ranger with one, beefier and quieter but Sunjata was pretty dreamy so I was satisfied. Although, in my mind I pictured a sexier Morelli but O’Mara was decent and let’s be honest here folks, are the characters from the books you love ever like you pictured when you see them adapted for film? Not-so-much.
Key word to my review: decent. The characters were decent. The movie was decent and fun. As a literary purist, I was upset they changed a few scenes from the book, cut things out and glanced over other scenes to mold it into a neat and tidy 106 minutes. I know, I know, sometimes things don’t translate to film … whatever. Writers spend a lot of time crafting a story and people spend a lot of time reading it, devouring each page and each twist and turn!
However, overall, “One For the Money” was decent. Bottom line: if you love Stephanie Plum, go see the movie because the gang’s all there! It’ll be nice to see your friends again! — Kate Vendetta