Bruce Kauffman 10:30 a.m., Aug. 31
Review: One for the Money
One for the Money.
Two others at the show.
3.) I had to review it.
4.) I could not get up and go.
The Chicken Pie Shop' was particularly turned-on last Friday night, and the waitress' inability to stop gabbing caused me to arrive 7 minutes after the trailers started. It's One for the Money, not Bresson's L'Argent, and while it wouldn't have taken much to catch up, I couldn't do it. I couldn't break the code of honor by walking in late. What would Marty say? Furthermore, what if a Debbie Reynolds love scene opened the picture? It's bad enough that I no longer sit through the closing credits; if I'm late for the opening logo(s), which seldom occurs, that's...I'm out.
Good things come to those who wait, at least in terms of presentation, and you can't say I didn't wind up getting the royal treatment. Sunday morning, 11:15 a.m. with only two others brave enough to join me in the big Gaslamp. The focus was uniformly pinpoint, the sound a Dolby-enhanced dream come true. All this splendor in the service of what?
This is the first Hollywood feature based on Janet Evanovich's series of best-selling detective novels featuring Jersey girl/bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. If the bargain matinee "crowd" I saw it with is any indication, there won't be many sequels coming our way.
The poster should read: "OH, MY GOD! THEY GAVE KATHERINE HEIGL ANOTHER BUDGET?!" It's certain that Heigl landed a Plum role, but the actresses' idea of a bold departure is changing her hair color. As credible as Heigl is at playing an out-of-work lingerie clerk, when the role asks that she assume the guise of a skip-chaser, the TV actress looks ridiculous wielding a gun. It's a PG-13 fantasy universe where cute and cuddly prostitutes exchange information for fast food and an old man sitting naked in his apartment (granted, the front door is wide open) is cause to place his name at the top of a wanted list.
Ryan Michelle Bathe and Sherri Shepherd have bits a comic-relief hookers opposite Katherine Heigl's flightly bounty hunter.
Plum is the laziest recovery agent in town. Wanting to pick up some fast cash, she goes after the town's biggest bail-jumper: former vice cop and murder suspect Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara). Wouldn't you know it? This just happens to be the same Joe Morelli who "humped and dumped" her back in high school. Familiarity breeds contempt, not comic possibilities. And the naked geezer with the open-door policy just happens to reside in the same apartment building as our heroine. With this type of coincidence, it's no wonder Evanovich was able to squeeze out 18 novels.
None of this would be quite so hard to swallow were it not for every time Plum gets in trouble, a guy shows up and saves the day. If it's not Morelli rescuing her from a squared-circle encounter with repugnant boxer, Benito Ramirez, (Gavin Keith Umeh) it's her hunky colleague Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) taking a bullet to the flack-jacket in order to save her tail. What is the point of scripting a woman of action for an actress who apparently can't leave the makeup trailer without some chiseled hunk there to back her up? If this formula failed to score for Jennifer Aniston, did Hollywood really think it would work magic for another small screen siren trying desperately to maintain her relevance?
Veteran television director, Julie Anne Robinson, manages to keep all of the action center-framed so it will play better on a 4:3 monitor. The opening dinner scene, with its manicured inter-cutting of closeups that don't vary one degree in either size or composition, is worthy of Jack Webb, if little else.
Debbie Reynolds and Katherine Heigl, as cute as cute can be!
Debbie Reynolds appears through the courtesy of Louis B. Mayer as Plum's feisty (aren't they all?) granny. Her career high-point arrives when she fires a round into a turkey dinner. The nicest thing to be said about Reynolds' performance is Betty White obviously doesn't need the work. Neither do you. Getting through this is a struggle. If you must, read the book and skip the movie.
Reader Rating: Zero Stars