I was wary of this movie as the casting of the main characters were announced but knew I'd end up watching it. My sis and I are fans of the books and wanted to see how it would translate to the big screen. Unfortunately, it didn't hold up too well.
Katherine Heigl brings Stephanie Plum – the popular heroine of Janet Evanovich’s worldwide best-selling sixteen-book mystery series – to vibrant life in Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment’s “One for the Money.”
A proud, born-and-bred Jersey girl, Stephanie Plum’s got plenty of attitude, even if she’s been out of work for the last six months and just lost her car to a debt collector. Desperate for some fast cash, Stephanie turns to her last resort: convincing her sleazy cousin to give her a job at his bail bonding company… as a recovery agent. True, she doesn’t even own a pair of handcuffs and her weapon of choice is pepper spray, but that doesn’t stop Stephanie from taking on Vinny’s biggest bail-jumper: former vice cop and murder suspect Joe Morelli – yup, the same sexy, irresistible Joe Morelli who seduced and dumped her back in high school.
Nabbing Morelli would be satisfying payback – and a hefty payday – but as Stephanie learns the ins and outs of becoming a recovery agent from Ranger, a hunky colleague who’s the best in the business, she also realizes the case against Morelli isn’t airtight. Add to the mix her meddling family, a potentially homicidal boxer, witnesses who keep dying and the problem of all those flying sparks when she finds Morelli himself… well, suddenly Stephanie’s new job isn’t nearly as easy as she thought.
The movie starts out ok with a few laughs provided by Steph's mom and Grandma Mazur around the family dinner table. We find out Steph's been unemployed for 6 months and her Grandma lets her know of a possible opening at Steph's cousin Vinnie's bailbonds office. Then it kind of slowly moves along and it seems like forever til we get another laugh. Part of the time I was distracted by Steph's frizzy hairstyle. Finally she pulls it back into a low ponytail and it was less distracting. However, Steph's overly spray-tanned chest was another matter. It kind of varied from looking like she was sweating all the time to looking sunburned. Anyway, Steph ends up working for Vinnie and takes over some cases from another bondsman who is out due to an appendectomy. One of the cases turns out to be Joe Morelli. Steph and Joe have a history - she lost her virginity to him back in high school and he never called her again. Apparently Steph then hit him with her car, breaking his leg, so they're really not on good terms at the moment. When Joe finds out Steph is the bond agent trying to bring him in, all he can do is laugh since he doesn't think she's tough enough for the job.
Enter Ranger, an experienced bounty-hunter who's looking to expand into the private security business. Book version Ranger is the ultimate man of mystery. He's Batman-Superman-Sexyman all rolled into one. In the movie, he's Extra Friendly and Helpful Man. Seriously, he meets up with Stephanie since she's new to the bounty-hunter scene and he gives her some tips about the case and guns and shooting. But he's too damn friendly and talkative and smiley and...ok I'll stop. He doesn't even manage to say, "Babe" sexily.
I really didn't think Heigl could pull off the humor of the Stephanie Plum character but in the end she did a better job than I thought. I also had doubts about the guy playing Morelli since he totally didn't fit my idea of him from the books but I felt like he and Heigl had decent enough chemistry that it worked well enough. Unfortunately, I didn't think there was much chemistry between Steph and Ranger in the movie whereas in the books, Steph would have smoke coming out her ears if Ranger even whispered, "Babe". But....to be fair, I think Ranger is so built up in the books that anyone playing him in a movie wouldn't live up to him.
I thought the movie did improve during the second half where Steph started doing some more investigative work to find the witnesses to the crime that everyone thinks Morelli committed. We also see her going out to capture other people who skipped their court date so she could make some quick money to pay her bills. Some of those secondary characters had funny moments. Then there was a weird little chunk where the movie took a more serious tone and it felt very out of place.
Anyway, while I think the 2nd half was a definite improvement over the 1st half of the movie (and what made this a C- rather than a D), I would recommend renting it or waiting for a TV airing rather than seeing it in the theater. Unless you want to go to the theater, then by all means go for it because while the movie was a C- for me, the popcorn was A+.