Sunday, January 29, 2012

One for the Money (live action movie)

It's been a while since I last reviewed a movie I saw in the theaters. Sometimes I get an urge to review what I've seen, sometimes I don't. I felt like writing about this particular movie.


Stephanie Plum was fired from her job 6 months ago and hasn't found anything new since. Her car has been taken away from her, she has bills that need to be paid and a pet hamster to feed, and she's down to her last four dollars. Out of desperation, she blackmails her cousin Vinnie into letting her work for him at his bail bonds office, hunting down skips. The skip she really wants to find is Morelli, a cop who supposedly murdered a guy. Morelli and Stephanie have history together - Morelli took Stephanie's virginity back when they were in high school and then never called her again. Stephanie wants the nice chunk of change she'd get from catching Morelli, sure, but she also wants a little revenge.

What Stephanie doesn't realize until it's too late is that she's in way over her head. She might not survive her new job, even with Morelli doing what he can to save her butt and Ranger, a hot fellow bounty hunter, getting her a gun and teaching her how to shoot.


It's been ages since I last read Janet Evanovich's One for the Money and two or three years since I last read any of the Stephanie Plum books. Still, the basics aren't hard to forget. Stephanie is a terrible bounty hunter, Morelli and Ranger are hot, and Stephanie is often surrounded by quirky/crazy people.

I knew from watching the preview for this movie that I wasn't going to be a fan of the casting decisions. I found Morelli to be good-looking but kind of forgettable. Ranger was also good-looking, but he seemed too clean-cut and nice – I had always imagined him to be way more intimidating than how he came across in the movie. As far as Grandma Mazur went, I had pictured her as looking much older and more fragile than she did in the movie. And Lula in the movie was more petite than I ever pictured her.

I'm pretty sure the movie skipped over a lot of stuff that was in the book and, even then, it felt like it took just a little too long for things to get going. Also, while I remember laughing at how over-the-top some characters were in the original book, it didn't play out quite so well in the movie. For instance, when Grandma Mazur played with Stephanie's gun and accidentally shot the family's dinner, instead of laughing I was tense during the whole scene, wondering why the heck no one took the gun away from her. They weren't that distracted by the conversation they were having.

One thing that occurred to me while I was watching the movie: it's incredibly sad that, more than 14 books later, Stephanie is still just as bad of a bounty hunter as she was in the first book. In fact, I think she might have become a little worse – the movie reminded me that, at one point, she spent some time doing shooting practice and even got good enough to hit something. Has she spent any time practicing her shooting since the first book? I can't remember, but I imagine the answer is either “no” or “not much.” This is part of the reason why the recent books have been such a slog for me – Stephanie has shown little to no professional or personal growth. Instead of becoming a more capable bounty hunter as the series progresses, she continues to rely on Morelli and Ranger's help and, from what I've heard, she still hasn't been able to bring herself to choose between Morelli and Ranger.

As far as the movie goes, it was...okay. Those who haven't read the Stephanie Plum books will probably find it to be, at best, forgettable. To those people I say, if there was anything in this movie that sparked even the slightest bit of interest on your part, then go read the book, because it was better. If I remember correctly, the book also explains what happened during the 6 months after Stephanie was fired from her job - the movie makes it look like she just sat and twiddled her thumbs until her bills started piling up.

Watch-alikes and Read-alikes:
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding (live action movie) - If you'd like something else with a big, quirky family, you might want to try this romantic comedy.
  • While You Were Sleeping (live action movie) - Another one that those who'd like something else with a big, quirky family might want to try. Like the first movie I listed, it's a romantic comedy.
  • Agnes and the Hitman (book) by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer - If you'd prefer something that mixes a bit of danger, humor, and romance and includes quirky characters, you might want to try this.
  • Cowboy Bebop (anime TV series) - If you'd like something else starring nearly-broke bounty hunters, you might want to try this. It's got humor, lots of action, and, if I remember correctly, even a bit of romance.

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