What Lisa Watched This Morning: One For The Money (dir. by Julie Anne Robinson)

This morning, as it stormed outside, I watched One For The Money, the Katherine Heigl film that quickly came and went earlier this year.

Why Was I Watching It?

 How did I end up watching One For The Money this morning?  I blame the toadsuckers out there who insist on mowing their lawns every chance they get.  By constantly mowing their lawns, these people are releasing particles of grass into the air where they turn into pollen and they make life difficult for sweet, innocent girls like me who happen to have fairly severe asthma.  Because of everyone mowing their lawns, my asthma started to act up last night and I ended up calling in to work today.

So, there I was: curled up on the couch, clutching my inhaler and listening to the thunder rumbling and the rain falling outside.  Our cat Doc walked over to the couch and stared up at me for a few minutes before going, “Meh.”  I took that to mean: “Let’s watch a movie On Demand.”  So, I checked to see what was available and, after I realized that I had no interest in Red Tails, I decided to go with One For The Money.

What’s It About?

So, Stephanie Plum (Katherine Hiegl) lives in New Jersey and has no job but she does have a kinda creepy cousin named Vinny (Patrick Fischler, who looks like he would be a creepy cousin named Vinny) who owns a place called Vinny’s Bail Bonds.  Stephanie reminds Vinny of a time that he attempted to get all incestous-like with her so Vinny hires her as a bail enforcement agent (otherwise known as a bounty hunter).  Stephanie’s first assignment is to catch Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), a former cop who is wanted for murder.  Stephanie is happy to accept this assignment because, back in high school, she lost her virginity to Joe and then attempted to run him over with her car after he dumped her.

However, it quickly turns out that 1) Joe isn’t that easy to catch and 2) he might be innocent.  In between getting bounty hunting lessons from Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) and catching other assorted bail jumpers, Stephanie tries to help Morelli prove his innocence and also finds herself falling in love with him, despite the fact that he’s kind of a jerk.

What Worked?

This film has gotten some of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen and not just from the usual gang of overpaid film critics who always hate on films starring Katherine Heigl.  Even the reviews left on the imdb are amazingly negative, a lot of them being left by fans of the series of books that this film is based on.  I have to admit that I haven’t read any of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels and maybe that’s why I didn’t think this film was that bad.

This film was essentially a big budget Lifetime film and it was at its best when it accepted that fact.  It had a few cute moments and there’s a moment, where the inexperienced Stephanie Plum goes, “Oh, I forgot I had a gun!” that made me laugh out loud because I know that’s exactly the sort of thing that I’d end up saying if I ever took up bounty hunting for a living.  While I agree with those who have said that Heigl was miscast as Stephanie, I could still relate enough to the character that the film (for the most part) managed to hold my attention.

Jason O’Mara and Daniel Sunjata are both easy on the eyes.  Stephanie’s not the only one to have fantasies about being handcuffed by Jason O’Mara while naked.

A lot of the negative comments that I’ve read about this film centered on just how bad Heigl’s New Jersey accent was.  As a Texan who speaks with a twang in her voice, all I can say to that is “Welcome to my world, bitches.”  If nothing else, maybe this film will let Yankees know how it feels to have their accent butchered by someone who grew up in Connecticut.

What Did Not Work?

 Just because the film wasn’t that bad doesn’t mean that it was all that good.  It’s a fun film to watch when you’re sick and it’s raining outside because it’s so lightweight and insubstantial that it doesn’t require you to think about what’s happening on-screen or really to even pay that much attention.  If you do pay attention, you’ll quickly realize that Heigl (who I, as opposed to lot of people, usually like) isn’t believable as a member of the working class, the film’s story is predictable, and that John Leguizamo plays essentially the same annoying character that John Leguizamo always plays in films like this.

I’m also assuming that Heigl’s voice-over narration was an attempt to capture Evanovich’s authorial voice on-screen but, honestly, it just came across as being heavy-handed and unnecessary.

“Oh my God!  Just Like Me!” Moments

There were a few.  To be honest, I get the feeling that if I ever became a bounty hunter, I would probably be kind of a klutzy one like Stephanie Plum is in this film.  Add to that, Stephanie has to spend a lot of time listening to people complain about her driving and I can certainly relate to that.  Seriously, you get a few tickets for running a red light and then you jump a few medians and suddenly, everyone’s making you out to be some sort of menace.

Lessons Learned:

What might be annoying on the big screen is perfectly acceptable when you’re curled up on the couch and watching TV.