HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8660[/img]Title: One For the Money
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara, John Leguizamo
Directed by: Julie Ann Robinson
Written by: Stacy Sherman and Karen Ray
Runtime: 91 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 15th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:74.5
Film has not been kind to bounty hunters the last few years. First, we had Dog the Bounty Hunter going off on a vicious racial attack on his son's African-American bride-to-be, and then we have the classic gem "The Bounty Hunter" with Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston. Fates have not been kind to Katherine Heigl in the same time period. Gone are the days of "Roswell" and "Knocked Up" now replaced with sweeping box office flops such as "The Killers" and "Life as we know it".
In this latest installment of bounty hunter flicks, we have Stephanie Plum (Heigl), a new divorcee, struggling to make ends meet after losing her department store position and seeking help at her low-life cousin Vinnie's (Patrick Fischler) bail bond service as a file clerk. Unfortunately for Stephanie, there is no file clerk position, but luckily there IS a position as a "skip tracer." Blackmailing Vinnie with some skeletons in the closet, Stephanie takes the job and sets her sights on taking down the big guy, Joe Morelli (O'Mara), a cop on the lam who is wanted for shooting an unarmed civilian. The kicker in this little situation is that Morelli happens to be Stephanie's hunky high school ex-lover (can't see where this one is headed yet, can you?).
Tracking down Joe Morelli is easy enough, but catching him, now that's another matter. Stephanie soon realizes that she's ill-prepared for taking down 180 lb men with nothing but high heels and willpower. Wheedling another, more experienced, bounty hunter named Ranger into helping her, Stephanie bones up on the basics of taking down a perp. Within weeks, she becomes an expert shot and can clothesline a running man without blinking (all that's left is for her to leap tall buildings in a single bound), all while still looking like a glamour model. As she comes closer to finding Morelli, a whole other story starts to unfold. Her contacts start ending up dead, and Morelli himself confesses that he's undercover trying to solve a crime. Like the giant cliche that we all saw coming a mile away, Stephanie agrees to help Morelli due to the romantic tension building between the two of them. Next thing you know, they get the bad guy, snarky comments are exchanged along the way, and we are witness to a newly rekindled romance between Stephanie and Morelli. Sort of.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8664[/img]"One For the Money" isn't a horrible movie, by any means. It suffers mainly from the lack of imagination and risk taking from the creators. Taken from a very successful line of mystery novels, "One For the Money" could have been cute and entertaining, especially to a female audience; however, we are stuck with is one giant cliche on celluloid. Every, and I mean EVERY, cliche present in a romantic action movie is thrown at us, from the smoldering sexual tension between heroine and "villain," to the underdog taking on a force that a trained S.W.A.T. team and a crew of highly experienced detectives would have trouble taking down. The dialogue is no better: every line is a cookie cutter cutout from the book of cliche's. Every once in a while, they throw in a witty comment that was actually....witty, which surprised me every time. Can you blame me? Every line for 20 minutes at a shot was as stilted and corny as the popcorn on which I snacked. The only cliche that didn't make it was Katherine Heigl walking through a door in slow motion, flipping her hair from her face while every guy in the room gawks at her. Given the script, I don't think we can truly judge just how good or bad the actors were, but O'Mara looked like he was sleepwalking the whole time, just begging for that guy to yell "CUT!"
Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity
The story may disappoint some, but luckily for us geeks, Lionsgate delivered a very solid 2.35:1, AVC encoded, transfer for us. Color levels are good, and blacks show only a hint of crushing. The Pittsburgh landscape is shown off nicely (disguised as New Jersey) giving the viewer some great eye candy. Flesh tones are accurate and clean with only a hint of artifacting. Once or twice I noticed some Aliasing and haloing around faces, but other than that a very clean and crisp image. Film grain is very light and unobtrusive, so much so that I started looking for the telltale signs of DNR. Fortunately for us no DNR present to my naked eye, only a good crisp picture which did a great job at replicating the the cinematic experience.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8661[/img]One of the joys in owning a good sound system is hearing a movie sound better than the theater, and "One For the Money" definitely delivers that in spades. Lionsgate's 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track is nearly flawless; the channel separation is one of the best I've heard in a long time. Bullets whiz by one ear, travel through all 3 front speakers and come out the back. If I didn't know better, I'd actually be looking around me for the bullet holes in my wall. Even simple things like opening a door or a footstep come through without being muffled or sounding overbearing. Bass wise, we've got a winner. While everyone likes a thunderstorm going on in their living room, nothing is more appealing to me then a properly mixed track. LFE came through where it was needed and not a bit more, gun shots were deep and loud and a car's engine made my hairs stand up on end with that barely audible, but easily felt bass. Lastly, the dialogue was balanced perfectly. I never once had to adjust the volume on my receiver during the whole movie. Voices came through clean and clear matched in timber and level to the effects around them.
• Making Money: Behind the Scenes
• Bond Girls: Kicking in the Bail Bonds Industry
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scene
• Theatrical Trailer
"One For the Money" could have been better, much better, but for a date with the significant other and a check-your-brain-at-the-door mentality, it can be suitable late night entertainment with the popcorn and soda. While having all the right ingredients (and some nice eye candy), the story just never came together. O'Mara is not a bad actor and was badly wasted in this film. Heigl, on the other hand, seems to have gotten into a rut. She played a fantastic character in Roswell and other flicks, but lately she has stayed in that goofy, snarky, "lovable" girl with attitude for the last 6 or so years. Given the right director and maybe a better manager in picking films, we could see some of that old acting sparkle from yesteryear once more. If you're interested in the Stephanie Plum character and wish to see more, I highly recommend checking out Janet Evanovich's books, since only one is all the films we'll be getting about our spunky heroine Stepanie Plum.
Recommendation: Rent it