One for the Money *
Review by Paul Stathakis | March 5, 2012
‘But where is the humor?’
According to Lionsgate, “One for the Money” is a comedy. But did they ever make a mistake in marketing it as so. I say this because “One for the Money” is a train wreck of a comedy, a witless film with enough robotically-delivered dialogue to make your head spin, and it fails miserably as a comedic feature because it is, unless I missed something, completely devoid of humour. The worst part is that I’m not even mildly exaggerating. Any time you find yourself having more fun pointing out all the cliches in a film rather than following it, it’s a clear sign of a sure misfire. That’s the kind of experience you get watching this abysmal picture. Unless of course a grandmother accidentally opening fire on a cooked turkey is your idea of a fun time at the movies.
Katherine Heigl, usually charming but not here, stars as Stephanie Plum, a newly-divorced and unemployed woman who accepts a job at her cousin’s bail-bond business. Her first assignment: to find wanted local cop Joe Morelli who we quickly find out was once romantically linked to Plum. Naturally, there has to be a connection between the man and the woman or we wouldn’t have a love story to cling to. A reward of 50,000 dollars is enough to motivate Plum to catch and bring Morelli in alive. What follows is a silly hour and a half of cat-in-tongue dialogue, sexual innuendoes, and at least one scene with Heigl wrapped in a towel.
The writers also do their best to incorporate some action but even those scenes come across as ridiculous. At one point, Heigl visits a mixed martial arts training gym to get some leads. Soon after she finds herself trapped inside an octagon ring with a short-fused fighter who taunts her as she interrogates him. She manages to escape in what is easily the year’s most useless and random action scene.Who saves her? You guessed it, the very same man she’s pursuing. She points a gun at him moments after he saves her but he is able to snatch the weapon from her after he convinces her to lower it. Then she asks him for information. She says, “I gave you my gun, give me something.” Morelli approaches her and flirts, “Oh, I’ll give you something.” Right, we get it. By the end we know they’ll be together though we can’t possibly believe for one moment that these two individuals are right for each other.
Why Heigl accepted to be in this film besides the promise of a paycheck is puzzling. In previous films like “Knocked Up” (2007) and “The Ugly Truth” (2009), Heigl proved she could charming and funny. Her role in “One for the Money” is so insipid and tedious that one might easily forget that, as an actress, she’s actually quite capable of revealing such qualities on the big screen.