SYNOPSIS: Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) is a bright, attractive, confident woman whose entire life has just taken a sudden turn – in the totally wrong direction. Newly divorced and recently laid off, the only work she can scrape up is a dead-end job at her sleazy cousin’s bail bond office. But when her first big assignment involves tracking down an on-the-lam ex-flame (Jason O’Mara), this tough-as-nails lady bounty hunter will be redefining the meaning of hot pursuit in this thrill-packed action comedy.
Didn’t Gerard Butler already make a movie about a bounty hunter who mixes personal and professional matters by going after his ex? Take a gender switch, replace Butler and Jennifer Aniston with Katherine Heigl and Jason O’Mara respectively, and you’ll get this tepid action comedy ‘One for the Money’, based on a book by New Jersey author Janet Evanovich that was first published way back in 1994. It’s the first Stephanie Plum book all right, but even fans of the character won’t find much to love about this print-to-screen adaptation.
To be fair, the problem isn’t Heigl, who tries her darnest to make Plum the anti-hero you’ll love to root for. Divorced, unemployed and close to being bankrupt, the former lingerie saleswoman enters the bounty hunting profession after she watches her car being repossessed. Ill-fitted for the job she may be, Plum’s pluckiness and derring-do, nicely played by Heigl here, ultimately serves her well as she promptly thrusts herself into a knotty case involving her former flame Joe Morelli (O’Mara).
The grudge between Plum and Morelli isn’t just for the former who had lost her virginity to him on the floor of a bakery years ago- after he failed to call her, she tried running him over with her car, leaving him with three broken bones in his legs. Yet as formula would dictate, the two are still very much attracted to each other, so much so that Plum loses him the first time she catches up to him because she gets too caught up in his charms. So begins a cat and mouse game as Plum tries to locate him, yet at the same time investigate the very case he was put on trial for.
Neither prove to be very engaging, as screenwriters Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray and Liz Brixius try to amp up the romantic tension between Plum and Morelli to little avail. The banter is tired and the scenarios none too imaginative, so Heigl and O’Mara have is their own amiable chemistry which while pleasant to watch isn’t anything approaching exciting. So too the mystery at the heart of Morelli’s arrest, unfolding with little narrative tension or sense of urgency.
The fault too is director Julie Anne Robinson, a TV director who most recently made her feature film debut with the equally mundane Nicholas Sparks’ adaptation ‘The Last Song’. Robinson’s TV-schooled aesthetics is all too obvious here, her by-the-numbers direction hardly adding any dark humour or screwball cheer to the proceedings. The only thing she does right is in steeping the movie deep in the flavour of its Jersey locale, especially in the colourful supporting characters including a cheerful prostitute (Sherri Shepherd), a menacing kickboxer (Gavin-Keith Umeh) and his shifty trainer (John Leguizamo).
Nonetheless, they aren’t good enough reasons to justify spending time or money with this uninspired adaptation. It has taken nearly two decades for Evanovich’s vivid character Stephanie Plum to make it to the big screen, with hopes of course for this movie to launch a franchise just like the books now are. No such luck for Heigl- despite the fact that her executive producer credit probably meant that she wasn’t just in it for the money- given how the movie tanked at the box office and for understandable reasons too. You’d be better off watching Butler and Aniston have another go at ‘The Bounty Hunter’ than to catch this sloppy rehash.
You’ll find your standard making-of featurette in ‘Making the Money’, where the producers, screenwriters, and director of the movie take turns talking about the care they took in adapting Janet Evanovich’s bestseller for the big screen. Various cast members also talk about their roles, and Evanovich herself gives the movie an endorsement.
‘Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry’ looks at the real-life trade of bounty hunting from a female perspective, given the perceived gender bias of the profession. We have to admit that it’s quite entertaining watching these women try to assert their masculinity.
The ‘Gag Reel’ contains little to laugh at, while the ‘Deleted Scenes’ are even more pointless than the movie itself. A ‘Photo Gallery’ and a theatrical trailer round up the extras on this disc.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 delivers the dialogue just fine, since there is little that qualifies as action in the movie. Visuals are clear and sharp, and colours look especially dynamic.
Genre: Action/Comedy Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, Debbie Reynolds, Debra Monk, Nate Mooney, Adam Paul, Fisher Stevens Director: Julie Anne Robinson Rating: PG13 (Some Violence, Sexual References and Brief Nudity) Year Made: 2012
- Making the Money: Behind the Scenes
- Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
Languages: English Subtitles: English/Chinese Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Running Time: 1 hr 27 mins Region Code: 3 Distributor: InnoForm Media