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One for the Money Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Archived Reviews' started by Matt Hough, May 7, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Matt Hough
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    Janet Evanovich’s beloved character Stephanie Plum has been brought rather indifferently to the screen in Julie Anne Robinson’s One for the Money. With erratic casting in some principal roles and rather drab direction, the movie doesn’t begin to exploit the riches to be found in Evanovich’s mystery series, but there is a bit of fun to be had around the edges of the film, and even when miscast, cast members have chemistry which makes up for some of the flavor missing from the rest of the enterprise.

    One for the Money (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
    Directed by Julie Anne Robinson

    Studio: Lionsgate
    Year: 2011
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1   1080p   AVC codec  
    Running Time: 91 minutes
    Rating: PG-13
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
    Subtitles: SDH, Spanish

    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 39.99

    Release Date: May 15, 2012

    Review Date: May 7, 2012

    The Film


    After getting fired from her job as a lingerie salesgirl at Macy’s, Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) is offered a job at her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds company as a bounty hunter. The biggest score on Vinnie’s books would be to bring in ex-cop Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara) who jumped bail in order to prove his innocence in a murder rap for which he’s been framed. With no skills or equipment (cuffs, gun, martial arts) apart from a can of pepper spray, Stephanie sets out to track Joe down, something she feels she’s got an inside track on since there is history between them. However, time and again Joe outwits her, and it isn’t until an experienced bounty hunter Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) starts giving her some tips that Stephanie begins having some success on the job. After listening to Joe’s story, she believes his innocence, but in order to prove it, he and she must begin seeking out a couple of witnesses to the murder he’s been accused of, but the guilty party hiding in the shadows isn’t going to make things easy for the new bounty hunter or her prey.

    The Stacy Sherman-Karen Ray-Liz Brixius screenplay adapted from the first novel in the Stephanie Plum series offers a reasonable mystery (a murder in retrospect plot) though the witnesses apart from Morelli are all killed before they can be interviewed thus limiting the audience’s ability to solve the puzzle before the solution is revealed. Julie Anne Robinson’s direction is, like the character of Stephanie herself, disorganized and haphazard in execution. Even more damaging, apart from a few scenes with some sexy banter between the leads, the direction plods enough that one loses track of who our protagonists are actually looking for. Taking place in Trenton, New Jersey, there’s very little feel for the territory (not helped by the regrettable stabs at Jersey accents from most of the cast) apart from a brief sojourn to an MMA gym run by Jimmy Alpha (John Leguizamo) where the dangerous rapist Ramirez (Gavin-Keith Umeh) trains and body checks the bounty hunter without breaking a sweat. There are some shootouts and explosions, but there is never very much tension or suspense on display.

    Katherine Heigl has the spunk for Stephanie, but she’s about as far from being a Jersey girl as it’s possible to get, and she’s becomes very proficient with a gun and with using physical force awfully fast. Though Jason O’Mara isn’t any more convincing as a Jerseyite than Heigl, the two actors do have an engaging chemistry that somewhat offsets their basic miscasting. Debra Monk as Stephanie’s mother and Debbie Reynolds as her grandmother likewise do their jobs professionally but with no true sense of place or personality. Much better are the other “men in her life”: Daniel Sunjata as pro bounty hunter Ranger, John Leguizamo as the easy-going gym owner, Patrick Fischler as Cousin Vinnie, and Gavin-Keith Umeh as the massive fighter Ramirez; all are utterly convincing and enjoyable to watch. Also effective is Sherri Shepherd as streetwalker Lula who offers Stephanie some street info for the price of a few snacks.

    Video Quality


    The theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 is authentically rendered in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is exceptional throughout the presentation, and contrast couldn’t be any more efficiently dialed in. Color is rich but always under control with very accurate flesh tones. Black levels are excellent with lots of details to be seen in the shadows. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.

    Audio Quality


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix offers the most enveloping sound experience with Deborah Lurie’s music score. There are some ambient sounds that occasionally find their way into the front or rear channels, but more could have been done with using the available channels for more atmosphere. Dialogue is always discernible and has been placed in the center channel.

    Special Features


    All of the featurettes are presented in 1080p.

    “Making the Money” is the behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the movie. Featuring interviews with original author Janet Evanovich, director Julie Anne Robinson, and actors Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, and Debbie Reynolds, this EPK-level bit of puffery runs 11 minutes.

    “Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry” introduces us to real life bail bonds women and a group of female bounty hunters to discuss their jobs and show some footage with the bounty hunters in action. It runs 10 ½ minutes.

    The film’s gag reel runs 2 ¾ minutes.

    There is one deleted scene (which appears to be an alternate ending) which runs 47 seconds.

    The film’s theatrical trailer runs 2 ½ minutes.

    The disc offers promotional trailers for What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Casa de mi Padre, Man on a Ledge, Killers, and The Switch.

    Inside the case is an instruction sheet for downloading the digital copy of the movie to iTunes devices.

    In Conclusion

    2.5/5 (not an average)

    What could have been a fun and breezy comic mystery turns a bit leaden in One for the Money. Though the film isn’t a total loss, it’s far less than it should have been and likely quashes any hope of further movie installments of the very entertaining Stephanie Plum novels.

    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC


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