To me, the bar was set so high by the 1988 film Midnight Run which starred Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin, that they really haven’t wanted to make more Bounty Hunter films since then. They’d be compared to Midnight Run and come off second best. Oh, every once in a while someone tries; like in March of 2010 we had The Bounty Hunter which starred Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. Roger Ebert described this movie as ‘drek‘. He said while watching it his ‘eyes glazed over‘. And finally, he said that this “is a film with no need to exist”. Strong words indeed. The rating scorecard on IMDB was 5.2 out of 10 by more than 34,000 viewers.
Well we are now about one month into 2012, and there’s been another attempt to mine some laughter, thrills, excitement, and cash through the sale of tickets to see another film in the Bounty Hunter genre. Released into wide distribution just last Friday, January 27th, was One for the Money. The film’s star is Katherine Heigl, and the film was directed by Julie Ann Robinson who directed some episodes of the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy.
I can’t give you any quotes from Roger Ebert about this film because he hasn’t reviewed it yet. Most likely, that’s because he hasn’t seen it, as the producers chose to not make it available for press screenings. So far on IMDB, 796 viewers have rated this film, and the collective score averaged out at 4.9 out of 10. That’s an even lower score than The Bounty Hunter which was routinely panned by the critics.
Where to start? There’s very few laughs. In fact the only one I can remember is when Debbie Reynolds, in this film she’s playing lead character Stephanie Plum’s grandmother – picked up Stephanie’s gun and was waving it around at the dinner table before shooting up the cooked turkey. This might have been more funnier if it had gone off immediately, but instead Reynolds waved it around for a few minutes to ‘set up the joke’. It’s been a long time since Debbie was America’s sweetheart when she starred with Gene Kelly and Donald O’ Connor in Singing in the Rain. That film was released only 60 years ago in 1952. Maybe she got the role because her number was less costly than Bette White‘s. (I’m guessing about that.)
Then, there’s no sex. The ‘hero’, who was the cop named Joe Morelli who skipped bail on murder charges, but instead of high-tailing it out of Trenton, NJ., he stuck around town – he ogled Heigl’s bra-clad figure for a moment or two. All of which was a set up so he could install a microphone into her cleavage, so she’d be wired. Anything else about sex was only spoken of as a remembrance.
Stephanie came to the bail-bonds recovery business because she was divorced, jobless, and was behind in her rent as well as her car-payments. This is a situation commonly referred to as ‘desperate’. As she put it to her family, ”I’ll own my car for about another 10 seconds”, and sure enough, the auto repo guys were hoisting it onto their truck seconds later.
She knew nothing about handcuffs, picking locks, or hand guns. But before the film was over she became an expert in all three. She went from selling ladies underwear to apprehending murderers or murder suspects within minutes – ok over a few days.
Its not so much that film was poorly done – I mean it was technically visually ok. The acting wasn’t bad either except for John Leguizamo who mailed it in, Debbie Reynolds who was over the top, and Daniel Sunjata (below) who was fine as Plum’s trainer in the fine arts of recovering bail jumpers. Everyone else, including Heigl, was just passable at best.
The real culprit here is the lame script. I mean Bounty Hunter films should have action, laughs, thrills, and a bit of suspense or surprises. It had little or none of the above. The only thing that is surprising is that I paid money to see this one. It’s not worth the money. They should have entitled it – One for the Money – No Refunds or Exchanges. Two point zero out of five.