- Plucky heroine played by bankable star, looking for a series that would keep her busy for years
- Fish-out-of-water female character in a man's world
- Girl with a gun, always good for laughs
- Just enough bare skin, just enough violence
- Tantalizing antagonists who are also in love (as in Heigl's "Life As We Know It" and ""27 Dresses")
- Built in audience of Evanovich fans
In the film, Katherine Heigl plays Stephanie Plum. Out of work and out of money, Plum somehow goes from lingerie saleswoman (so we are told, not shown) to bail recovery agent -- a bounty hunter. The Plum job, so to speak, is to bring in her one-time boyfriend, a cop on the run because he's suspected of murder.
I like Heigl, but what I've found charming in other films rarely appears here. She comes off more tarty than sultry, more game for a challange than capable. Part of that is the fault of the writing that leans on stereotypes of bounty hunters, prostitutes, boxing promoters and more. I haven't read the Evanovich books, so some of it may trace back to that. I don't want to knock detective fiction. I just don't read it because (having read a few Rex Stout mysteries) I know I'd just get addicted, the same way I'm hung up on romantic comedies. But there isn't a lot of danger of me becoming a slave to Stephanie Plum films.
I wanted to like this movie, but it just didn't have the hook I expect from a bang-bang love story. They're supposed to keep you on the edge of your seat wondering whether the next bullet or Cupid's arrow will hit the leads. Even the frenetically violent Bond movie "Quantum of Solace" and the laughable "Knight and Day" include enough nuance, humanity and plain animal magnetism to make those films more charming that this one.
"One for the Money" -- one movie made just for the money -- seems likely to be the only one. I would deem it unripe pickings for a sequel of "Two for the Dough," Evanovich's second Plum novel. But I won't bet on the franchise withering on the tree. After all, there have been at least three sequels to "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes."