One for the Money: a review
Mark Kermode, a far better film critic than I am, has a rule that he has dubbed ‘the Six Laugh Rule’. It states that for a film that labels itself a ‘comedy’ to be justified in this grandiose labelling, it must induce in the viewer at least six laughs. Bridesmaids: 21 laughs. Mean Girls: 25 laughs. Mamma Mia: 145 laughs- mostly at Piers Brosnan’s singing. One for the Money: 2 and a half laughs (the half was me laughing at a text, so I don’t think it quite counts). Therefore, under Dr Kermode’s scientifically proven comedy rule, I’m sorry to have to say that the film has failed.
The premise of One for the Money is simple: Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl), already struggling to pay rent, loses her job, and falls into the most convenient temp work she can find... bounty hunting. Oh, but there’s a twist- the man she is looking for was her high school sweetheart, and she’s very angry at him. She ran him over once... apparently breaking all the bones in his body wasn’t enough revenge. Plum must attempt to capture bail-skipping Joe Morreli whilst overcoming increasingly serious threats from those she crosses. Hilarity doesn’t ensue.
It’s not that the film is irredeemably terrible; it just doesn’t seem to have been made with any particular care. The storyline manages to be simultaneously too obvious and too confusing, the cinematography is stiflingly textbook, and parts of the script are laughable for all the wrong reasons. “We’re ancient history...” says Morreli to Plum, “Like the pyramids baby”. So astonished was I by the awfulness of this line that I turned to the person next to me to ask them if I was hearing things. Then I realised I was the only one in the cinema. Clearly most people do not in fact agree with the film’s title.
We all know Katherine Heigl can do far better than this: Knocked Up was surprisingly quite funny, and her comic timing is, at times, excellent. Her talent for comedy seems, however, to be trumped by an extraordinary knack for choosing dull, unimaginative scripts. It’s as if the person who wrote the screenplay- sorry, the three people who wrote the screenplay- ploughed through a check list of overdone comedy clichés. Stereotypical black prostitutes: check. Woman shooting gun badly while macho man shows her how it’s done: check. Mother desperate for her daughter to marry, and a cuckolded indifferent father: check. I could go on.
One for the Money this most definitely isn’t, but if you’re really bored, it’s on tv, and it’s a choice between watching this and getting a tetanus shot, I’d choose this. Just.
One for the Money _is on at York Reel Cinema. For more information visit their website