Thoughts: I go in to Katherine Heigl movies with lowered expectations. It's a defence mechanism. It usually ends with me leaving mildly entertained and fairly satisfied. One For The Money is another in that line-up. But, there are far, far worse ways to spend your time. Consider it a less painful form of bonding with your partner than, say, almost two hours of shoe shopping. I'll take this film ten times over that. It really wasn't that bad.
Heigl plays the feisty Stephanie Plum who is recently unemployed, flat broke and 100% divorced. Within minutes she's picking up her first assignment as a bounty hunter for her cousin's bails bonds company in Jersey. We meet various members of her family, some friends, and some less than savoury acquaintances. You can guess that most of these are probably far more fully-rounded in the book, but since I am unfamiliar with the text, I didn't really mind that they were mostly one-note. Lowered expectations, remember! So anyway, she quickly finds out her ex flame from high school is on the lam, and is worth a whopping $500K (hunters get 10% commission), and it becomes her raison d'etre for the new job. Things then get really quite convoluted from there. Even I found it difficult keeping up with the names, connections and reasons.
As you can probably guess from the above, the film moves at a fair clip. I'm sure this will jar purists of Janet Evanovich's work to no end, but again, I didn't mind. Both the film's score and the way it looks and feels reminds heavily of a 90s procedural flick, or buddy cop flick, and I think that works to the films benefit. I guess that doesn't jive with audiences of this day and age though, so the throwback style didn't work critically or box-office-y. But oh well. I kinda wouldn't have minded seeing a few more adventures.
Heigl didn't annoy me like she usually does; eschewing her neuroses-laden hysterics for a more witty, dialogue savvy approach. Her timing is pretty perfect, and damn if she doesn't have a good set on her. All her co-stars work well, and there's a fair few of them. Of note we have Jason O'Mara (whom we last saw in the failed TV series Terra Nova), John Leguizamo, Daniel Sunjata (Grey's Anatomy- smart move, casting. Well played.) and a few other possibly familiar faces. To me, anyway. They all bounce off each other quite well, well enough to keep you paying enough attention to get to the next scene.
Personally, I don't understand why they don't take this approach: Make it a TV series. And no, not like a 20 episode, case-a-day series. I mean a 12 ep series, with about 3 eps a book. Then you get nicely rounded, fully fleshed characters, space to breathe to fit an entire arc for each main story, the ability to keep characters in or out and build them as required, and after a few weeks you can freshen up with the next book. Plus lowered production values, far less cost in marketing and so forth, and you could probably keep up with the author's output to stay in her pre-written universe. It's like a win-win situation, really. Plus you'd be creating a franchise. But that's just me thinking out loud.
All in all, you could do worse. Sure, you could do better, but I'm not complaining. The wife loved it, and she said she'd watch it again. And it justified me buying 2 other blu-rays in a 3 for $40 deal, so I'm certainly not going to jinx it.