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Heather's DVD Review: One for the Money
Is it possible to start over after you've hit a major run of bad luck? Can one unluckily opportunity change everything for the better? That's the premise behind the DVD release of One for the Money, which had some predictably funny moments for many viewers looking for romance and action.
One for the Money followed a down-on-her-luck divorcee named Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) who lost everything from her job to her car. She had very little money in her checking account and was close to being thrown out of her apartment. Stephanie ended up with an unexpected job opportunity to work as a bounty hunter at her Cousin Vinnie's bail bonds company. Of course, no one is taking her new job seriously, because she didn't even own a gun or a set of handcuffs. Luckily, Stephanie was paired with a veteran bounty hunter named Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) to teach her the ins and outs of catching fugitives. Stephanie's first case was to bring in accused murderer/Detective Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara) who onced dated Stephanie in high school. Unfortunately, the relationship didn't end well and was still a sore subject with Stephanie. She kept her feelings in check as she investigated Joe's case, which led her to a hooker named Lula (Sherri Shepherd) who was very helpful on multiple occasions. As she grew closer to the truth, Stephanie started to see Joe and herself in very different lights. Can she fight her attraction to Joe and still collect the bounty when the truth comes out?
In terms of plot, One for the Money captured some of the breezy charm in Janet Evanovich's novels, but the movie also lost the element of surprise by mainly focusing on Joe and Stephanie's relationship. This mistake made the movie feel more like a generic romantic comedy than an action comedy film. It also didn't help that the usually squeaky clean Heigl was cast as the naively tough Stephanie. In recent years, Heigl has carved out a name for herself in some romantic comedys that were either a hit (27 Dresses) or a miss (Killers). Despite not being an ideal Stephanie, Heigl managed to capture her gritty humor whenever Stephanie got herself into trouble. The biggest issue with Heigl's portrayal was that she wasn't able to pull off Stephanie's thick New Jersey accent which she often lost during the movie's most crucial scenes. Instead, Heigl should've avoided speaking with an accent entirely to avoid the issue entirely. She just seemed truly out of depth when Stephanie first held a gun, which could've been done by mistake or on purpose. It's hard to tell if it was the former or the latter, which Heigl should get credit for because viewers will never know the answer.
Heigl tried her best to bring Stephanie Plum to the big screen, but the story should've focused more on introducing her character to viewers and not pair her up with someone right away. Moviegoers needed to get to know her character without the guise of preparing for a potential romance. Although, Heigl did have a very good rapport with the always energetic O'Mara. Their scenes brought some heat to an otherwise routine story. Heigl and O'Mara mixed their scenes with hints of playful danger that The Bounty Hunter often lacked. Heigl could just wink at O'Mara's Joe and that would send him into a panic, especially after she locked him in the back of a truck. When he was let out of it, O'Mara's ticked off expression was simply priceless and indicated payback was coming sooner or later. The movie's biggest casualty was that Debbie Reynolds and Shepherd weren't in the movie more, because they delivered some of the film's funniest lines without even trying. Let's hope that a sequel could be in the works, but it's doubtful based on Money's chilly reception at the box office in January. It's a shame, because the movie was still entertaining to watch despite its various flaws.
Verdict: Despite Heigl's easygoing charm, Money seemed more like a romantic comedy with explosions than a Stephanie Plum based story.
DVD Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)