Starring Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara • Directed by Julie Anne Robinson • Age restriction: 13LV • Releases 18 May
If it were a food, One for the Money would be a bowl of semi-congealed plain rice pulled from the refrigerator after sitting there for a week. In other words – One for the Money is tired, stale and utterly uninspiring.
The film stars Katherine Heigl as rookie bounty hunter Stephanie Plum in the film adaptation of Janet Evanovich's popular novel. Recently dumped from her job as the manager of Macy's lingerie department, Heigl is in desperate need of cash. She strong-arms her bail bondsman cousin Vinnie (Patrick Fischler) into letting her take on a case that would earn her the $50 000 bounty – and revenge on an old ex-boyfriend. Joe Morelli (played by Terra Nova's Jason O'Mara) is a former vice cop and a murder suspect on the run – and Stephanie is convinced she can bring him in: despite the fact she doesn't even own a pair of handcuffs. As she bumbles her way around the city after Morelli, Stephanie soon gets caught up in a dangerous world that she is entirely unprepared.
Sound familiar? It should - the recovery agent wheel got a spin in 2009 with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler in The Bounty Hunter.
Heigl – who after winning an Emmy for her work on Grey's Anatomy and starring in the successful 27 Dresses, looked set to take up the mantle of rom-com queen – isn't quite right for this role. She's beautiful, glam – and isn't fooling anyone with her attempt at a Jersey accent, which is cringeworthy at best. As Stephanie, Heigl is awkward and mildly irritating, and her incompetence – which may have been charming in the books – gets old quickly. The utterly bizarre decision to have Stephanie provide state-the-obvious voiceovers throughout the film breaks any sort of momentum earned – and there's not very much that falls out the realm of the utterly predictable. I mentally counted in an explosion while watching… "And three, two, one – BOOM" and anticipated yet another bland punch-line from it. There are absolutely no surprises in One for the Money – and not even the acting is interesting enough to warrant a trip to the cinema.
Helmed by The Last Song director Julie Anne Robinson, One for the Money deals entirely in stereotypes and clichés. From the terrible lipstick-inspired opening sequence to the sassy prostitute pair, the kooky grandmother (oh, Debbie Reynolds, why?) and the resident gum-chewing receptionist, it's all quite tired. The incessant harping on about the same jokes? Tired. Everyone Stephanie meets mentions the time she ran Morelli over and broke his leg (I think it's meant to show she's "spunky" – I just drew "psycho" from that one). Her terrible eating habits and the fact she still looks like a model – yep, that will come up quite often too.
Heigl and O'Mara – both great-looking people – have very little chemistry on screen. Their cheeky back-and-forth feels forced and neither of them really look like they want to be there. At times, I felt myself wondering how much they got paid to be there – 'cause it really didn't look like it was enough.
Ultimately, One for the Money felt like – and honestly, could have worked as – a television series. It's bland, unfit for the big screen and the cost of admission.
For Katherine Heigl superfans and DVD rental only.