Bounty Blahs

'One for the Money' is another stinker starring Katherine Heigl

I hate Katherine Heigl a lot less than most critics do. In fact, I don't hate her at all; I kind of like her. I enjoyed her stupid baby movie (Life as We Know It) a little bit, and I loved her in Knocked Up.

Granted, all of her other starring vehicles blew ass, but she's routinely better than her material—and such is the case with her latest bottom-feeder, One for the Money.

Heigl is slightly bad, yet still somewhat charming, as Stephanie Plum, a former Macy's employee who goes into the bail-bond business. Her first gig is to go after a cop in trouble, Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara), the guy to whom she lost her virginity. Later, she tried to run over him with a car.

Heigl, of course, didn't have a hand in the writing of this crap. The film is based on the first in a popular string of novels by Janet Evanovich, and my guess is that director Julie Anne Robinson missed something in the translation from book to film. The movie is a dull dud.

Much of the blame can go to Robinson, who directs with all the finesse of a drunken three-legged polar bear on ice skates. Almost nothing in this film works. All attempts at humor fall flat, with Heigl and O'Mara generating zero onscreen chemistry.

O'Mara is an actor who can irritate with the reading of every line. He's just so intense. This is a guy who must visit the catering table for coffee a lot during the shoot.

They got Debbie Reynolds out of mothballs to play the crazy grandma who shoots turkeys at the kitchen table. (I guess Betty White wasn't available—or perhaps she thought the script was a piece of shit.) Fisher Stevens shows up late in the film as a sweaty bounty hunter. If that isn't a harbinger of a bad film, what is?

The movie is populated with your standard bounty-hunter movie clichés. There's the hooker with a heart of gold (Sherri Shepherd) from whom Stephanie gets all of her information in exchange for hoagies. There's the doting, paranoid mother (Debra Monk) who worries when her daughter is five minutes late for dinner. There's the appliance-store guy (Adam Paul) her mama is trying to fix her up with, even though he's a total dick.

OK, so most of those roles don't show up in your average bounty-hunter movie. I guess One for the Money just has a way of making everything feel tired and clichéd. The hooker with a heart of gold who eats hoagies is in just about every romantic comedy with guns ever made, though. I won't back off that argument.

As Ranger, the stud who shows Stephanie the ropes and saves her ass multiple times, Daniel Sunjata is the film's one bright spot. He's funny and has an actual rapport with Heigl; he needed more screen time. The film goes dark whenever he leaves the screen; perhaps he should've been cast as the lead over O'Mara.

The whole thing is set in New Jersey (although much of it was shot in Pittsburgh), which means one thing: Bad Jersey accents. Everybody's got one, and Jersey should be pissed.

Heigl's string of bad luck continues, and it's no surprise she recently said she'd like to return to do a guest spot on Grey's Anatomy. The big screen hasn't been kind to her.

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