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Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 06:42 am

Heigl Fresh in Sour Plum Adventure One for the Money (2 Stars)

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There’s nothing wrong with One for the Money that a firm hand behind the camera couldn’t fix. While this adaptation of Janet Evanovich’s first Stephanie Plum adventure lacks a distinctive air that would help make it an unique adventure with a female protagonist, movies with less talent and thinner stories have succeeded on the screen and proved to not only please fans of the source material but won over some converts as well. Sadly, that will probably not be he case in this likely “one and out” entry in a series that will never be.

Katherine Heigl stars as Plum, a New Jersey gal at loose ends who opts for a career as a bounty hunter, reasoning, “How hard can it be?” She soon finds out just how difficult it is to bring in fugitives, as her attempts to snag bail jumpers results in one epic fail after another. However, you got to give Plum credit for pluckiness as she sets her sights on Joe Morelli (Joe O’Mara), a cop accused of murder, which happened to be her high school crush.

Of course, nothing is simple in capers such as this and Plum’s pursuit of Morelli uncovers one unsavory subplot and supporting character after another. Truth be told, the film could have benefited from a more streamlined screenplay, excising scenes in which Plum interacted with her parents and kooky grandmother (Debbie Reynolds). However, most of the blame for this misguided film must lie at the feet of director Julie Anne Robinson. With mostly television shows to her credit, including the show that made Heigl a star “Grey’s Anatomy” (imagine that!), she makes the fatal error of not choosing a consistent tone for this material. One minute, mild humor is suppose to be generated by sexy banter between the huntress and the hunted, the next, a supporting character is blown to bits and we’re not sure whether to take this deadly serious or in a darkly humorous vein.

Though it bears no direct connection, the stench of last year’s The Bounty Hunter, the misguided comedy with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler hangs over this film. The premise of both is similar enough to invite comparisons and they both suffer from similar problems. However, what elevates Money is the turn by Heigl. She has a self-effacing way about her that’s charming and she’s convincing whether Plum is required clueless, embarrassed or, ultimately, confidant. He take on the character is true and consistent and is deserving of a far better movie than this to be trapped in.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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