Thursday, February 2, 2012

One for the Money

When books are made into films, the transition is not always a good one.  When I first heard that a studio had brought the rights to Janet Evanovich's "One for the Money," the first in her best-selling "Stephanie Plum" series of mysteries, I was a little nervous.  This nervousness turned into downright outrage when I read that they'd cast the waifish, blonde, rom-com heroine, Katherine Heigl to play the petitie, curly brown haired, 130lbs Stephanie Plum.  I didn't think Ms. Heigl had the looks or the chops.

Then about a month ago, I finally saw a trailer for "One for the Money."  The producers sure got Stephanie's look down and the trailer was full of humor, adventure, and fun as are the book.  I put my preconceived notions aside and I started to get excited.  Then, last Friday I took a day off from work and made a movie date with my grandmother who is just as spirited, if not even more spirited than Stephanie's Grandma Mazur.

I was pleasantly surprised with the film.  Katherine Heigl was so good in the part that I forgot that she was that actress from "Grey's Anatomy," and totally bought into her as Stephanie.  There are over 18 books in the series but this film takes it all back to the beginning.  We're introduced to Stephanie Plum, a former lingerie buyer who is down on her luck after being fired and falling way behind on her bills.  Desperate for cash, she takes a job working for her weaselly cousin, Vinnie, a bail bondsman.  As a bounty hunter, Steph's first assignment is chasing down her former high-school crush, Joseph Morelli.  Joe, a cop with the Trenton Police has found himself on the other side of the law after skipping bail after getting mixed up in a shoot-out. Initially, she is excited to not only make $50,000.00 for the finders fee but to get her revenge on Joe after he broke her heart years ago.  Along the way, Stephanie learns the tricks to the bounty hunter trade by seasoned pro, Ranger.  She also receives unlikely assistance from a sweet and sassy hooker named Lula and even Joe Morelli himself who is desperate to clear his good name. 

I loved this movie.  Often times,when a book transitions into a film, the little details from the book get lost or changed.  Not here, Stephanie's apartment is just as tiny as described in the book.  She barely has a kitchen, it's more like a kitchenette and her dinning room, if you could call it that, consists of a tiny table with three mismatched chairs.  I was also super-excited to see her hamster Rex.  I was horrified the producers would turn Stephanie into a cat lady.  Not that there is anything wrong with cats, I am a cat lady !  Stephanie however is not.

The casting was also brilliant.  In the books Morelli is described as having dark curly hair, with beautiful eyes and muscles.  Jason O'Mara played this role to dreamy perfection.  The writers worked in all of Morelli's cheesy lines to endearing and not campy delight.

You had me at Cupcake 

Ironically, Daniel Sunjata, who plays Ranger is currently starring on "Grey's Anatomy."  He totally fit the cool, tough,mysterious, professional bounty hunter role of Ranger.  Sherri Sheppard is absolutely wonderful as the wild, spandex loving, wise-cracking hooker Lula.  Screen legend Debbie Reynolds is terrific as zanny Grandma Mazur.

There is one nitpicky thing that has been nagging me all week since I saw this movie.  Morelli drinks Yeungling beer?!  I thought he was a Bud man.  Oh well, the product placement worked well because I now have a case in my fridge for any sexy cop that wants to stop by.

This film is great for Plum fans and non Plum fans alike.  My grandmother has never read the books and enjoyed the movie as much as I did.  However, unlike Stephanie's grandmother, mine developed a soft spot for Morelli and not Ranger. Don't get me wrong, Ranger is great, just not our cup of tea.

This film was a great set-up for future installments and if they are as good as this first one, I hope there are many more films to come.  As the novels progress, more and more fun characters are added to the Plum universe.  I would kill to see Sally Sweet come to life on the big screen !  Fans of the books, will know what I'm talking about.  If you don't know, go read the books ! Just skip over "Finger Lickin' Fifteen,"  it wasn't finger lickin'.  And go see "One for the Money," in theaters !!!  You won't be disappointed.  It was PLUM PERFECT ! 

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