Zero- that’s how many previews and trailers I saw for the newest Katherine Heigl joint, ONE FOR THE MONEY. That number came about organically and I wasn’t actively avoiding them. I did hear a preview coming on once or twice when I got up to get a drink or any other normal human function but I did not see one frame of this movie before sitting down to watch it. I take that back I probably have seen parts of it- except they were in other movies that do this exact same type of premise. ONE FOR THE MONEY is a film made for a specific audience and I don’t belong to it- that being said while I’m not in the positive camp I also have to go out on a limb and say it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to humanity.
Katherine Heigl stars as Stephanie Plum, an out of work Macy’s lingerie salesperson/manager that decides to try her luck at being a bounty hunter. One case catches her eye that involves a former flame, Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), that is now a cop on the run after being accused to opening fire and killing an unarmed man. Stephanie shows absolutely no feel for her new profession and constantly seeks assistance from her much more qualified cohort, Ranger (Daniel Sunjata). An opportunity to clear Joe’s name presents itself and the two team up to uncover the evidence that would prove he is innocent of the charges placed upon him.
ONE FOR THE MONEY does quite a few things wrong for those of us that the film isn’t designed for. For one, it expects the audience to believe anyone would let a character like Stephanie to walk in off the street and apprehend criminals. Sure the film points out the absurdity of the situation, but is that really a valid excuse to ignore it as part of the premise. One of the biggest problems I have is the script is so inept and cringe worthy in its cheesy dialogue that it’s sometimes unintentionally funny.
A script full of bad jokes and unintentional laughs is one thing but it’s another entirely when there isn’t enough to fill the entire run time of the film. This is a movie that overstays its already on thin ice welcome and if it was much shorter and with different leads it probably would have been better than it is. In fact this is quite similar to the Jennifer Aniston/Gerard Butler THE BOUNTY HUNTER- though to be fair I remember nothing about that film so I will be so bold to say this is probably more entertaining.
I don’t have any grudges against Katherine Heigl from any previous movies, but there’s just something about her here that makes me not like her, more specifically her character. She’s got this irritating sense of self satisfaction which is just obnoxious because she does so many things wrong that her pride in herself is unearned. She gets a character shot, she blackmails a relative, almost gets beaten by a crazy MMA fighter, gets several characters beaten or killed and gets handcuffed and left with no key to a shower curtain while naked. During all of these situations she has this self pleasing smirk on her face like she’s some super sleuth and it’s all part of her plan yet she can’t penetrate the idea to take this flimsy shower curtain down removing the handcuff from it and unlocking it after she gets dressed instead of using her nudeness to lure a guy over to free her. This is obviously meant to be played for comedy like many other scenes where problems are easily avoidable and I just wasn’t fully on board with it.
Heigl performs as we’ve become accustomed to so far just with an extra flare of smugness. Jason O’Mara has moments where he’s interesting to watch but he also has to deliver some pretty terrible lines- such as “we’re ancient history, like the pyramids baby” and constantly referring to Heigl’s character as cupcake. Both talk like they are entrenched in an old fashioned crime caper and Daniel Sunjata comes in and ends up as the most likable character even though he’s barely in it.
ONE FOR THE MONEY is a pretty big exercise in déjà vu as imitates previous films for better or worse. In many ways it has almost a mirror image to THE BOUNTY HUNTER just with a bit of role reversal. With a more durable lead actress and better attention to the script the film could be more of a guilty pleasure. For the right minded audience ONE FOR THE MONEY may be that dumb fun you’re looking for but for others it likely just exploits exactly what the title says- a plain and simple cash grab.