Believe it or not, the big screen adaptation of ONE FOR THE MONEY, which was based on the first novel in Janet Evanovich's best-selling series of novels featuring feisty bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, has been in development for nearly two decades. But despite all the time invested and potential franchise might be in bloom (since Evanovich has went on publishing 18 successful novels and still counting), it's sad to say that ONE FOR THE MONEY is nothing more than a strictly by-the-numbers effort weakened by predictable script and forgettable characters.
The movie follows the (mis)adventures of a New Jersey native Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) who has been out of work for 6 months after losing her job as a Macy's lingerie manager and she is also desperately out of cash to pay her bills. After witnessing through the window as her car is being towed away, the only way she can hope to get fast cash is convinced her cousin Vinnie (Patrick Fischler), who is a bail bondsman, to give her a job as a bounty hunter. Coincidentally, she finds out that former lover Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara), who once broke her heart in high school, is among the most wanted man who is $50,000 worth of bounty. With such huge reward, she is determined to find and capture him at all cost, only to find out that the case isn't exactly what it seems at the first place.
Veteran TV director Julie Anne Robinson (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice) and screenwriters Liz Brixius, Karen Ray and Stacy Sherman doesn't make much effort in this movie other than throwing everything but the kitchen sink. Most of the comedy elements are as pedestrian as they goes, while the story is all painfully corny. Not only that, the movie slogs along lazily with tepid romance between Katherine Heigl and Jason O'Mara, and even the action scenes are so disappointingly brief, yet unexciting.
The cast, in the meantime, are mostly mediocre. As Stephanie Plum, Katherine Heigl is attractive enough to watch for. But despite her attempt to play a feisty bounty hunter with penchant for dressing sexily, she isn't sexy or funny enough to make her character memorable. Instead she comes across more like a hysterical, sitcom-variety caricature while her Jersey accent is terribly unconvincing. Jason O'Mara is rugged enough to pull off a good heartbreaker, even though his character is largely forgettable while the rest of the supporting actors are all wasted with underwritten roles.
Given its poor box-office run in the U.S. (with a mere $19.6 million) since its original release a few months back in late January, any chance of expanding the franchise is highly unlikely. Personally, I think this one seriously needs a fine-tuning reboot sometimes in the future (provided if that ever happen).