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One for the Money (2012)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/15/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/14/2012
We often discuss Hollywood trends here and it seems that many of them, such as remakes/reboots and copycat movies, are frowned upon. However, there is one trend which has been around since the beginning of cinema of which I definitely approve. I don't have any problem with books being brought to the big screen and I don't see this trend ending anytime soon. Movies are desperate for new and original stories and despite any dour predictions concerning the future of literature, every year a slew of exciting books are released. In recent years, we've seen this movement turn towards the adaptation of books which have spawned popular series, such as Harry Potter or Twilight. This goes for books aimed at adults as well, and thus we get One for the Money, based on Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" novels.
One for the Money introduces us to Trenton, New Jersey resident Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl). She has just lost her job working the lingerie counter at Macy's and she's down to her last dollar (and her car gets repossessed). Desperate for work and tired of her mother's constant nagging that she get married, Stephanie seeks employment with her cousin, Vinnie (Patrick Fischler), a bail bondsman. Vinnie reluctantly hires her and only wants to give her small cases, but when Stephanie learns that Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara) has failed to appear in court, she goes after him. Joe broke Stephanie's heart when she was a teen and she wants payback. Joe, a police officer, is wanted in connection with the shooting of an unarmed man. At first, Stephanie's only goal is to bring Joe to justice, but as she interviews gym owner Jimmy Alpha (John Leguizamo) and streetwalker Lula (Sherri Shepherd), she begins to suspect that he may have been wrongly accused. The seemingly simple job of finding Joe soon turns into a full-fledged mystery which Stephanie must solve.
There are two movies going on in One for the Money. The first one is about the characters, specifically Stephanie. Actually, New Jersey should be considered the main character in the film, as the movie flaunts all of the stereotypical things which define the characters. The women have big hair and wear flashy clothes. Everyone is loud and obnoxious. If nothing else, the movie got the New Jersey thing right. Stephanie is a sassy, strong woman who still deals with a lot of insecurities. She is annoyed by her family, but loves them very much. She enjoys her independence, but still longs for a man's company. She's somehow over the top and yet down to Earth at the same time, so it's easy to see why the fans of the novels would love her. Stephanie is surrounded by other characters who are almost as colorful as her. Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) is a fellow bounty hunter who shows Stephanie the ropes and Stephanie's Grandma (Debbie Reynolds) says whatever is on her mind.
The other part of the movie is the story, which takes a backseat to the characters. Maybe things were more concise in the novel, but I felt like the story was all over the place. Stephanie is determined to bring Joe in and then suddenly she's trying to help him. At one point, it's implied that he's undercover, then the story goes back to him being on the lam. Stephanie's encounters with the various suspects and witnesses are very episodic and much of it doesn't gel or build upon itself. The weird thing is that Stephanie remains non-plussed throughout and her skills are remarkably adept at times considering that she's a rookie. A little more panic on her part would have added to the movie.
I haven't read any Janet Evanovich's novels, so I can't say how One for the Money compares to the book. But, I can compare it to another movie based on a series of books -- Fletch. The two films have a lot in common. Both movies feature main characters who are smart-asses who stick their nose where they aren't supposed and quickly find themselves in over their heads. Both films offers very convoluted and needlessly complex plots. (Alan Stanwyck was doing what now?) However, there is one huge difference -- While the story in Fletch may be forgettable, Chevy Chase's performance and the funny lines are not. (That movie shaped by sense of humor and I still steal liberally from it to this day.) They were going for the same kind of thing with One for the Money, but missed the mark. In the end, the story here isn't important, it's Stephanie and her interactions with others. But, those scenes lack any real spark. There were a few funny moments here, but for the most part, it simply felt like a Fletch wannabe. Again, having not read the books, I can't say if Heigl did a good job as Stephanie Plum, but I can say that she really nails the whole New Jersey thing...maybe to a fault. It's great that the filmmakers took a chance on this series of books, but something tells me we won't be seeing Two for the Dough.
One for the Money offers a naked scene without nudity on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look good, most notably reds and purples, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, but the picture does get somewhat soft at times. The depth is acceptable, but not as impressive as some other modern films on Blu-ray. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The in-film music sounds very good, as it fills the speakers. The stereo effects highlight sounds occurring off-screen. The big explosion delivers quality subwoofer effects.
The One for the Money Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. "Making the Money: Behind the Scenes" (11 minutes) is a featurette which gives us a snapshot of the creation of the film. We get comments from the filmmakers, as well as the cast members. The piece looks at the Stephanie Plum character and how the books became a movie. (This includes comments from author Janet Evanovich.) We then get a look at the various characters and actors, as well as the director. The featurette offers some on-set footage. "Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry" (10 minutes) plays like a mini-documentary which contains interviews and some on-site footage of real life women who work as bounty hunters. We get a 3-minute GAG REEL. The Disc contains one DELETED SCENE which runs about 47-second and is actually a deleted epilogue. The final extra is the TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long