Sunday, 3 February 2013

One For The Money (2012)

It's only a matter of time, surely, until  Katherine Heigl goes away and is never seen on cinema screens again. Don't get me wrong, she will probably get more TV work and some non-theatrical movie roles, but I can't think of anyone working today who has headlined so many stinkers and displayed such a lack of warmth and actual personality on screen. She's a "star" with no star power and this comes from the one guy who enjoyed The Ugly Truth (probably the last movie in which she was likeable).

Heigl plays Stephanie Plum, a young woman desperately in need of some cash. Through a fortuitous turn of events, she ends up being allowed the chance to work as a bounty hunter and gets to chase a big payday in the shape of an ex-boyfriend (played by Jason O'Mara). Stephanie is helped to become a bounty hunter by the generous Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), a man who has the patience of a saint. So what happens next is that Stephanie makes a lot of noise, gains a lot of attention and puts herself in danger. Can she turn things around to become a decent bounty hunter, get the cash and improve her lot in life? Viewers may find it hard to care, I know I did.

One For The Money could have been a good move for Heigl. The role was one that she could play easily enough, there was huge franchise potential and the leading lady could appeal to male viewers while female viewers enjoyed watching some girl power as well as  O'Mara and Sunjata. But no. Instead, viewers get a weak lead character, a weak cast and yet another vehicle for Heigl that is content to be as bland as possible.

The source material may be partly to blame, the story comes from one of a series of books by Janet Evanovich, but I wouldn't know because I haven't read any of them. I assume that Karen Ray, Liz Brixius and Stacy Sherman read the thing because they adapted it for the screen. Director Julie Anne Robinson takes an uninteresting screenplay and directs it in an uninteresting manner. Every scene is predictable, every attempt at humour is unfunny and the whole thing just limps along from one dull moment to the next.

Of course, the cast doesn't help. Heigl is unjustly smug and confident in her lead role, playing up her character's many flaws and weaknesses as if they should be endearing at every turn. That's not too bad, however, because O'Mara has all the charisma of a folding picnic table (and not even a nice, wooden one - I'm just on about the plastic variety). Sunjata actually doesn't do too badly, and comes across well, but he's one of the all-too-few highlights. John Leguizamo, Debbie Reynolds (as grandma), Sherri Shepherd, Fisher Stevens and Patrick Fischler are a few of the names populating the varied and uneven supporting cast, but none of them are given anything decent to work with.

If there are any fans of Katherine Heigl out there, then I guess this is tolerable for them. The other 99% of the population should probably just avoid it altogether.


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