Movie Review - One for the Money

Katherine Heigl & Daniel Sunjata
in "One for the Money"
I've never been a fan of Katherine Heigl and apparently neither has any other critic. I first saw her in the TV series Roswell, which was a long while ago. She's best known for Grey's Anatomy, which I never watched, but I did enjoy her in Knocked Up (2007), but it's a film I wouldn't turn on again, and that film stands as her best reviewed movie. One for the Money, on the other hand, is her worst reviewed movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which also ranks it as the worst reviewed movie of the year so far at only 2 %.

Based on the book by Janet Evanovich, Katherine Heigl stars as Stephanie Plum, a Jersey girl who was fired from her job at Macy's. She's divorced. She lives in a crappy apartment. Her car got towed. She gets help from her family but she's frustrated. Her cousin Vinny, who is not played by Joe Pesci, gives her a job at his office. Vinny is a bail bondsman or a bounty hunter, and Stephanie naively thinks she can just waltz into it and become one herself.

Stephanie is motivated because one of the targets is Joe Morelli, played by Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars and Terra Nova). Joe had a one-night-stand with Stephanie and then dumped her. There's a lot of bad blood between them, so she'd love to apprehend him. She'd do it just to get him back for dumping her, but the fact that turning him in would yield a reward of $50,000 doesn't hurt either. Joe is a former cop accused of murder, so finding and catching him won't be easy.

To help her capture Joe, Stephanie enlists Ranger, played by Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me). Ranger is like an action figure. He's smooth. He's suave. He's smart and he's a way better bounty hunter than Stephanie. He tells her that she's out of her league because she doesn't even have a gun permit. He almost takes pity on her and lends more than a hand.

Stephanie's search for Joe takes her to the mean streets of Trenton where she meets a lot of colorful characters. She meets a sassy prostitute named Lula, played by Sherri Shepherd, the comedian and co-host on The View. Stephanie also meets the villainous boxer, Benito Martinez, played by Gavin-Keith Umeh (Lights Out). She also encounters an Asian stoner named John Cho, played by Leonardo Nam (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).

I've heard all the criticism against this film, but I found myself liking this brisk adventure. I thought Heigl was likeable. Her hair was not its usual blonde color, and her accent took some getting accustomed. Yet, she still exudes an undeniable sex appeal and charm. One fun scene has her wet, handcuffed and practically naked for an extended period of time. It's not the equivalent of Viggo Mortensen's steam room fight in Eastern Promises (2007), but it was one I watched twice.

The mystery and even the chase itself aren't all that thrilling. The movie is winsome in its general sense of humor. Heigl's character is one that is in over her head but she keeps going, not fully aware of the danger. She does come around and realize the seriousness. Seeing her do that and then rise up to meet the challenge, when in reality she would've gotten murdered, might be derivative and hackneyed. Yet, it was a light and bubbly affair.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated PG -13 for violence, partial nudity language and some drug material.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 31 mins.


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