Friday, January 6, 2012

Is ‘One For The Money’ going to satisfy book fans?

I loved the first 12 Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich.

In fact, I love them so much I reread them at least once a year.

Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum.
So, when I heard they were making a movie about the first book I was torn.

I actually think that the Evanovich books would make a better series on HBO or Showtime, but I was still slightly jazzed about seeing it go to the big screen.

Then they started announcing the casting.

The first was ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ alum Katherine Heigl. I’m not a Heigl hater. In fact, I think she’s done some warm and fun work. She’s never going to win an Oscar – but most of Hollywood won’t so that is a moot point. Of course, I was picturing the sun-kissed and blonde Heigl in the decidedly dark and Italian/Hungarian Stephanie and the picture wasn’t exactly fitting for me.

Daniel Sunjata as Ranger.
Then I saw pictures of Heigl’s dye job and I started to think – you know what, she might not be too bad. Then I started thinking about it more and I realized, I really couldn’t picture anyone else that I would like better in the role. I mean, Sandra Bullock would have been perfect 10 years ago but she’s too old now.

Then I heard about Sherri Shepherd from ABC’s ‘The View’ being cast as Lula and I felt a little better. I may not agree with Shepherd very much on ‘The View’ but I think she has the perfect temperament to play feisty and streetwise Lula.

When it came to Grandma Mazur, I think I, like everyone else, was picturing Betty White or Cloris Leachman in the pivotal role. When I heard it was Debbie Reynolds I was slightly disappointed at first. Then I saw her on ‘Oprah’ and realized she’s just as zany as Grandma Mazur in real life, so they really could have done worse.

Then they did worse.

Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur.
Just as important as casting Stephanie is casting her two love interests --  Joe Morelli and Ranger. I didn’t take it as a good sign that I had to look up who both Jason O’Mara and Daniel Sunjata were. Morelli is supposed to be a tall and angular Italian man with dark hair and eyes. Ranger is supposed to be built like a truck and have Cuban coloring. Both are supposed to be ridiculously hot.

Let’s face it, O’Mara and Sunjata are both disappointments in the looks department. I’m not sure who I would have cast as Morelli, but I always pictured the former ‘American Gladiator’ Nitro as Ranger – so you can imagine my disappointment at the casting of the two leading men.

Just recently, they started running promos on television for the movie – which comes out Jan. 27 – and while I like some of the scenes I strongly dislike others.

Jason O'Mara as Joe Morelli and Heigl as Stephanie Plum.
My quibbles? First of all, in the promo, Stephanie tells the character clearly meant to be Vinnie, the head of the bail bonds office she goes to work, that he once stuck his tongue down her throat. Here’s the problem, Vinnie is Stephanie’s cousin and no matter his proclivities with the duck – I don’t even think a sexual deviant like Vinnie would hit on his cousin.

Second? Heigl’s New Jersey accent seems forced in the promos. I never really thought about Stephanie having a Jersey accent. Yes, I know she is running around The Burg constantly and New Jersey is almost another character in the books, but if the accent is going to become distracting I would have preferred they leave it out.

Sherri Shepherd as Lula.
Finally, while I like the casting of Debra Monk as Stephanie’s mother the promo made Stephanie’s long suffering father – played by Louis Mustillo -- look like a buffoon. He’s more animated in that five-second clip than he is throughout the entirety of Evanovich’s 18 books.

Is any of this enough to stop me from seeing the book? Absolutely not, but I’m approaching it with a lot of more trepidation than before I saw the promo.


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