One For The Money – 2011
Directed by Julie Anne Robinson
Starring Katheryn Heigl, Jason O’ Mara, Daniel Sunjata, Debbie Reynolds, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, Annie Parisse
Screenplay by Liz Brixius, Stacy Sherman and Karen Ray, based on the novel by Janet Evanovich
Despite my best intentions, I do enjoy Katheryn Heigl. Never liked her in Grey’s Anatomy, not that the show was any good without her, either. To date, the best movie she’s been in (Knocked Up) is the one she enjoyed making the least. Heigl always gives a solid effort, but it is mainly in the choice of material that her films fall short. This time, she picked what appeared to be a solid foundation with Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Add 3 screenwriters to the 75 consecutive week best seller and you have a toothless mystery, somewhere between Laverne & Shirley, Remington Steele and Murder, She Wrote.
It’s not that the movie is unlikable. It merely tries too hard to be liked. None of the characters stand out in anything other than Guido fashion. These folks give you New Jersey to a fault, bad accents (in the case of Reynolds and Heigl) and all. Not one of the characters stands out in the slightest. The story meanders in the way that the novel might have, but each destination along the way has someone who appears more because the story requires it, rather than it making any sense. In particular, Sunjata’s Ranger, who appears here and there to help out. Does he have a crush on Plum? The feeling is that even if he did, he is mostly there to give her guns, ammo, advice for no particular reason, while telling her she is foolish to continue. Huh? Huh.
The guy she’s chasing is an old flame. This is supposed to ratchet tension. Instead, we get these really lame attempts at one upmanship, like grand theft auto and throwing keys in a dumpster, trying to garner laughs.
Who is this movie for? My mother, apparently. A little less so for my wife. I think Heigl is going for the same demographic obtained by Sandra Bullock. She’s doing a better job than Ashley Judd, I suppose, with her post-Ripley “get away from her, you bitch,” roles that no one buys. No one is buying this much, either. I want her to succeed, just like I want Bullock to succeed. Aging actresses have no future, most of the time. Just ask Julia Roberts how Mirror Mirror is doing. It begins and ends with good material, though, and I just don’t see anything but a Lifetime movie with bullets here.
(** out of *****)