Yes, Bob. But she did lose her virginity.
Yes, Bob. But she did lose her virginity.

I hate Katherine Heigl a lot less than most critics do. In fact, I don’t really hate her at all. I kind of like her. I liked her stupid baby movie, Life as We Know It, just a little bit, and I loved her in Knocked Up.

Granted, all her other starring vehicles blow ass, but she’s routinely better than her material. Such is the case with her latest bottom-feeder, One for the Money.

Heigl is only slightly bad, and still somewhat charming, as Stephanie Plum, a former Macy’s employee who goes into the bail-bond business. Her first gig is to go after a cop in trouble, Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), a guy she lost her virginity to and tried to run over with a car.

See, that’s just stupid as all hell right there, and Heigl didn’t have a hand in the writing of this crap. It’s based on the first of a popular string of novels by Janet Evanovich, and my guess is that director Julie Anne Robinson missed something in the translation from book to film. The movie is a dull dud.

Much of the blame can go to Robinson, who directs with all the finesse of a drunken three-legged polar bear on ice skates suffering from a gaping neck wound. Nothing in this film works, and I mean nothing. All attempts at humor fall flat, with Heigl and O’Mara generating zero screen chemistry.

O’Mara is an actor who has a talent for making every line irritating. He’s just so intense. This is a guy who visits the catering table for coffee a lot during the shoot. This is a guy who consumes much chocolate between takes. I can’t make any other suggestions about what chemicals might contribute to his uppity film persona because that would be crossing some lines, but you know what I’m thinking. Chocolate is just a gateway drug, man.

They get Debbie Reynolds out of mothballs to play the crazy grandma who shoots turkeys at the kitchen table. I guess Betty White wasn’t available, or perhaps she thought the script was a piece of shit. Fisher Stevens shows up late in the film as a sweaty bounty hunter. If that isn’t a harbinger of bad film, what is?

The movie is populated with your standard bounty hunter movie clichés. (We’ll exclude The Empire Strikes Back from the category of “standard bounty hunter movie.” Boba Fett rules!) There’s the hooker with a heart of gold (Sherrie Shepherd) who Stephanie gets all of her information from in exchange for hoagies. There’s the doting, paranoid mama (Debra Monk) who worries when her daughter is five minutes late for dinner. There’s the appliance store guy (Adam Paul) who her mama is trying to fix her up with even though he’s a total dick.

OK, most of those roles don’t show up in your average bounty hunter movie. I guess One for the Money just has a way of making everything feel tired and clichéd. The hooker with a heart of gold who eats hoagies is in just about every romantic comedy with guns ever made, though. I won’t back off that argument.

As Ranger, the stud who shows Stephanie the ropes and saves her ass multiple times, Daniel Sunjata is the film’s one true bright spot. He’s funny, he has actual rapport with Heigl, and he needed more screen time. The film goes dark whenever he leaves the screen, and he should’ve been cast as the lead over O’Mara.

The whole thing is set in Jersey, although much of it was shot in Pittsburgh, which means one thing: Bad Jersey accents. Everybody’s got one, most of them sound bad, and Jersey should be pissed.

Heigl’s string of bad luck continues, and it’s no surprise she recently said she’d like to do a return guest spot on Grey’s Anatomy. The big screen hasn’t been kind to her in recent years.

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