Review: One For the Money

One for the Money - Katherine Heigl

It’s two for the show as Katherine Heigl has visions of a sugary Plum dancing in her head.

One For the Money(2012)

Now an explosive eighteen books into Janet Evanovich’s successful series of Stephanie Plum novels, it is surprising that the 1994 novel is only now making its way to the big screen. Reportedly sold to Columbia Pictures for over $1 million, the adaptation had been sitting in development hell for thirteen years, which Evanovich took in her stride, in a comment worth of Plum herself. “Hard to believe they’ve been sitting on this multi-million dollar franchise for all these years but go figure”.

In One For the Money, Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) is an out of work lingerie saleswoman, and desperate for some cash, turns to her cousin Vinnie the bail bondsman (Patrick Fischler) for some work. With no experience, she decides to become a bounty hunter, tracking down people who failed to show for their court dates. Needing the money, she dives straight in at the deep end, former vice Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara) who is wanted for murder, and also happens to have unceremoniously dumped her after a sexual encounter in high school. With only the help of the dashing Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), it’s up to her to bring the FTAs to justice.

Despite a setup reminiscent of every rom-com that has emerged from the factory that makes them for you in any colour (so long as its pink), One for the Money is a refreshingly smart and sassy crime comedy. Sitting somewhere between Elmore Leonard and more traditional chick flicks, the ubiquitous Heigl finds herself in one of her strongest roles to date. The film is not afraid to play her as a outspoken character, right down to her New Jersey accent, even if her world ironically revolves around the increasingly hot men that enter her life. Of course, there’s something for everyone during an extended sequence in which a naked Heigl is handcuffed to a shower rod.

A cast of eccentric characters populate One For the Money, not least of which is Plum’s family, who could spin-off into their own show, Jersey Shore: The Geriatric Years. A hilarious Debbie Reynolds (yes, Debbie Reynolds!) quite literally shoots a turkey during one memorable scene, and the presence of the always terrific John Leguizamo and seasoned character actor Fisher Stevens add to the quirkiness. The attempt at dark humour is somewhat hamstrung by the slightly sanitised version of events, dropping character elements like one character’s sexual proclivities with ducks for example. The denouement is all a bit too convenient as well, but it’s all in the spirit of the affair, making One For the Money a value proposition.

One for the Money - Katherine Heigl

Janet Evanovich’s popular series gets off to a bright start, promising a solid series ahead of it if the characters find their audience.

One For the Money was released in Australia on 16 February 2012 from Roadshow Films