Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stephanie Plum Comes to Life

Sunday, for an early Valentine's Day, my husband took me to see the movie One for the Money.

He sort of wanted to see it, too. He has listened to enough of Janet Evanovich's books - I have heard almost all of them, as I listen to them in the car - to have a good feel for the characters. I think my hubby is a secret fan of the characters.

The show received terrible reviews, and while I wouldn't put the movie in the "really terrible" column, I certainly would not recommend that everyone rush out to see it. Especially at the cost of a theater ticket today. It is not the worst movie I've ever seen, but even Sex and the City 2 has this beat, and that was a pretty bad movie.

One for the Money stayed fairly true to the book, which I had to read this fall for my Detectives in Fiction class at Hollins University. So I was very familiar with the story the movie is based upon.

In this instance, the book is much better than the movie. That is often the case, though not always.

The basic story line? Stephanie Plum is an out-of-work lingerie sales girl. She goes to work for her cousin, Vinnie Plum, at his bail bond agency. She decides to bring in Joe Morelli, a former lover and a cop who has shot someone and then skipped out on his bail.

She is tutored in the fine art of bounty hunting by Ranger, a Latin man who knows how to handle a weapon.

In the film, Stephanie has this unnamed friend (or maybe she was supposed to be Stephanie's sister - she does have a sister in later books), whom we see only briefly. Stephanie calls her I think maybe three times. It is a rather odd device for the movie, and I'm not sure what it's purpose was, except for extra dialogue and explanation to the viewer. If you must resort to that to carry the script along, it is time for a rewrite.

The problem wasn't really the script, though. The problem was the total lack of chemistry of these actors between themselves and with the screen. You know how some actors just ooze personality across the air waves? There is none of that here.

Katherine Heigl looks as I might have envisioned Stephanie Plum, but that's about it. She is pretty wooden in her efforts to portray the spunky Stephanie.

The fellow playing Joe Morelli looks Irish, not Italian, and there was absolutely no chemistry between him and Heigl. None. Zip. Nada.

The guy playing Ranger did a little better in the hottie department, but still, I didn't feel the vibes between Stephanie and Ranger like I do in the books.

And Debbie Reynolds was completely miscast as Grandma Mazur.

I suspect many of Evanovich's fans will be disappointed with this rather ho-hum effort. The characters in the book are very rich in detail and personality, and there is much to be mined there. It's a shame that this first effort will prove such a disappointment.

However, I fully expect that One for the Money will become one of those that find a good home on the movie channels, where it will play endlessly and become a fan favorite simply through familiarity.


3 comments:

  1. I didn't think the movie was all that bad. Not the best, but certainly not the worst, and it had us laughing throughout. While I have heard that a lot of fans didn't like the casting of the guys, everyone seems to love Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur. I admit, I did, too. You could tell she had a lot of fun with the role. I think you are right about this one finding legs on cable movie channels. It will probably do a lot better there than it did in theaters.

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  2. Sis,
    Thanks for letting me know to save on the movie ticket. I only recently dicovered Janet Evanovich's series on a plane trip. Fell in love with the series and have read several. Ranger is a stud and my new hero. Lol

    Diddle

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  3. i've never read any of her books but i actually have one sitting in the cupboard that i picked up somewhere, maybe the library sale rack or something. i know a lot of people have told me to read her! sounds like you had a nice vday though! i love getting out to the movies!

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