Katherine Heigl’s ‘One For the Money’ Was Made For No One

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Just under five years ago, Katherine Heigl became a decently known actress in the film world for her role as Alison in the Judd Apatow film “Knocked Up.” After having been in the show “Grey’s Anatomy” for a few years, Heigl had finally broke into the world of cinema, and seemed to have a decent amount of comedy acting skills. Now, several years and a few bad movies in a row, Heigl seems to be desperately holding on to whatever career she still has left.

The newest film she stars in, “One for the Money,” is just another messy and disappointing entry on her resume (like “Life As We Know It,” “The Ugly Truth,” and “27 Dresses,” among others). Set in New Jersey, Heigl plays Stephanie Plum, an out-of-luck and out-of-work single woman who turns to her cousin for employment at his bail-bond business. That’s right, this untrained, inexperienced young woman in high heels plans on pulling off her best Dog the Bounty Hunter impression in order to make a living. Sure, she got laid off from her small job at Macy’s, but there has to be a better choice of occupation, right?

Lucky for Stephanie, the biggest bounty her cousin has right now happens to a guy named Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), who Stephanie lost her virginity to in high school, and the $500,000 bail would give her a nice $50,000 payday which (we are continuously reminded) would “change her life.” Not only is this lucky for her as she already knows her target, he also happens to be a respected police officer, and the case he was involved in is still under some question.

One For the Money
One For the Money
Photo credit: Lionsgate

So, Stephanie starts her pursuit of finding this Morelli who, amazingly, no one has been able to track down. Of course, Stephanie (with her zero experience in this area) is able to track him down in about three minutes of film time. Joe easily laughs off her attempt to bring him in and escapes by throwing Stephanie’s car keys into a trash bin. As Stephanie is continuously mocked by other bondsman and bounty hunters for thinking she could actually bring him down, one has to wonder how any of these professionals could laugh considering this girl that is completely new to the job found Morelli before any of them could. Only in the movies, folks.

So the wild chase continues with Stephanie and Morelli and the feeble attempts to bring the bounty down are not only disappointingly predictable, but extremely obnoxious. Stephanie is an incompetent bounty hunter that manages to continuously lose her gun, gets her part-time partner shot, and resorts to telling us her feelings by speaking out loud to herself. Before we know it, Stephanie is naked and hand-cuffed to her own shower curtain as Morelli escapes out the front door, yet again.

The story is not only ridiculous because this woman is trying to chase down heavy criminals, but there is also this necessity by the writers to throw in lame jokes throughout, even after brutal violence has taken place. After a character is murdered in an attempt that was meant for Stephanie, she jokes to Morelli about the situation, apparently unfazed by the death or the fact it was meant for her. There is a fine line between light-hearted and stupid, and this film crosses it. As bad as the 2010 film “The Bounty Hunter” starring Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler was, “One for the Money” is even more nauseating. It’s about time the bounty hunter/romantic-comedy genre got taken behind the shed and laid to rest.

One For the Money
One For the Money
Photo credit: Lionsgate

As far-fetched and obnoxious the story already is, the acting performances in the film are incredibly distracting and lackluster. Heigl’s performance, in particular, has to be one of the most inadequate and dismal showings of recent memory. Playing a young woman from Jersey, Heigl seems to forget from scene to scene (or even within one conversation) that she is supposed to have a New Jersey accent. One minute she sounds like an Italian girl from the shore, the next she sounds like any old girl from the Midwest. For a while, I was confused on whether she was only putting the accent on for certain characters she talks to in the movie, or if she was just falling in and out of character…it was the latter. It seems the filmmakers were more concerned with keeping Heigl’s breasts or back-side in frame than with making sure she was actually staying in character.

Heigl’s performance is not the only one to talk down about. Jason O’Mara is a cliché to the highest degree: A smooth-talking “criminal” that can seduce the female lead, but really is kind at heart. Even more disappointing is the dull performance from John Leguizamo, a decent name on the cast list that disappoints more and more with each recent movie he is in (“The Happening,” “Righteous Kill,” and “Gamer,” amongst others). Leguizamo seems distracted and bored in the role, and I have to wonder why he even took the part in the first place. Just like the character of Stephanie, there has to be a better way for Leguizamo to get a payday.

One For the Money
One For the Money
Photo credit: Lionsgate

From start to finish and from writing to direction and all the way to acting, “One for the Money” is a complete mess and makes one question the career of Ms. Heigl. With this pitiful performance in a film that is likely not to make much money, Heigl is on a pretty slippery slope. Her previous film “New Year’s Eve” (which starred a whole ensemble of wash-ups) hasn’t even made back its budget at the domestic box office. The film before that, “Life as We Know It,” only made a profit of $10 million domestically and “Killers” (the third previous film) made $47 million domestically on a $75 million budget. I can’t imagine “One for the Money” doing too well at the box office either, and that could spell some major issues for Heigl at getting her next job. No wonder she’s recently expressed interest in returning to “Grey’s Anatomy.” Fluff films may come out all the time, but (judging by her performance in “One for the Money”) Heigl can’t even succeed in a bad one.

“One For the Money” stars Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, John Leguizamo, Daniel Sunjata, Sherri Shepherd, and Debbie Reynolds. It was written by Stacy Sherman & Karen Ray and Liz Brixius and directed by Julie Anne Robinson. It was released on January 27th, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com staff writer Tim Martens

Staff Writer

Manny be down's picture

"one for the money"

one of Ms.Heigl many bad flicks did one is just awful case closed!!!

ziggy one of the best's picture


I think this money was made just to make any kind of money I didn’t even give this movie any stars

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