Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: One for the Money

Plenty of blogs, blurbs, and columns have in the past dedicated a fair amount of space to detailing the diva attitude that goes hand-in-hand with Katherine Heigl’s lack of range as an actress.  My response to this dirt sheet stuff has always been apathy, because I have a better reason for disliking her – namely her work.  Believe me when I tell you that I have seen most of her movies from My Father the Hero, to 27 Dresses, to Life as We Know It and rare is the occasion where I walk away from a viewing feeling entertained.  Oddly enough, the one movie of hers that I actually enjoyed – Knocked Up – she decided to trash in the media for its portrayal of women.   

So I recently had the opportunity to watch One for the Money and my initial reaction was that it must felt like a huge betrayal to her hardcore fans (if she has any).  Clearly, her bread and butter is the RomCom, so her dalliance with a film that skews more towards action clearly represents a break from the norm.  The film follows the plight of an unemployed Jersey girl (Heigl) who takes a job as a bounty hunter for her cousin’s bail bonds business in order to make ends me.  And in the interest of eschewing any sort of realism, her first task is a big case involving a former lover who is now an ex-cop on the run for murder.  In lieu of bridesmaids’ dresses, pregger references, and beds of roses, Heigl spends her time navigating drugs, guns, gang bangers, and corpses.

I know this won’t come as a huge surprise for anyone, but the movie is not good.  You only need go as far as the Heigl’s fake Jersey accent to surmise this.  Most of the cast either does a credible job with the accent or pulls a George-Clooney-Perfect-Storm and eschews it altogether.  Unfortunately, Heigl is caught somewhere in between – randomly fading in and out of the distinct pronunciation pattern.  Not since Bruce Willis in Armageddon or Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, have we seen this kind of verbal snafu.  It is at times hard to discern if she is a bad actress or if she is simply not trying.

Despite the shortcomings of Katherine Heigl in the lead, the supporting cast represents a bit of a bright spot.  With all due respect to Janet Evanovich and her novel, Stacey Sherman’s adaption falls well south of Francis Ford Copolla, but despite this setback, Jason O’Mara and Daniel Sunjata are credible as the muscle in the movie and Sherri Shepherd, John Leguizamo, and Debbie Reynolds all hit their marks.  Still, none of this really registers because this is Heigl’s show and the movie's fortunes (misfortunes would be more accurate) are riding on her shoulders.

I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that this movie is a miss and that you should probably do yourself a favor and avoid it altogether – even on free television.  I want to say that there is something redeeming about the film, but the plot is fluff, the action weak, and the payoff both predictable and underwhelming. To be honest, I felt hard-pressed to write an interesting review about the movie, because it is simply bad.  Heigl’s next film is The Big Wedding and while I am guessing that I will not enjoy that film, the mere presence of the word "wedding" in the title should make her fans excited.

Standout Performance: Daniel Sunjata does a decent job of playing Ranger – an experienced bounty hunter who takes Heigl’s Stephanie under his wing.

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