Janet Evanovich’s popular series about Stephanie Plum, Jersey girl bounty hunter, has millions of fans, including me. So I was dismayed to hear they made a movie of the first book, “One for the Money,” starring Katherine Heigl. I thought she was too pretty and blond to play the redoubtable Plum. However, I watched the movie last night and was delighted. Heigl’s hair is reddish-brown and curly, her accent is Jersey and her chemistry with Jason Mara as Joe Morelli is sizzling. Daniel Sunjata plays Ranger and provides Stephanie with some badly needed education. Debbie Reynolds as Gramma Mazur is perfectly coiffed and satisfyingly eccentric. (The dinner scene with the turkey is a hoot.) Lula is great but since it’s the first book she doesn’t have much to do. Stephanie’s anxious mother and long-suffering father are perfectly cast as are Vinnie and Connie who run the Bail Bonds Office.
If you remember way back to the first book, Morelli is wanted for murder and has skipped on a $500,000 bond. That’s 50K to the recovery agent who brings him in. Since he and Plum have history, she really wants to get him and she can use the money. She is clueless in the beginning but learns from each experience and starts to react like the spunky Stephanie we know and love. Taking crazy risks, intuitive leaps and intelligent deductions are the Plum’s hallmark and they are all on display in this movie as she tries to track down Morelli, evade a crazed killer/rapist and collar some very weird characters. She meets Lula on the street, who tells her to bring her a snack if she wants her to talk – pure Lula.
I really enjoyed this movie –it stays authentic to the “voice” of the book and the gritty streets of the Trenton neighborhood known as “the Burg.” I hope it made enough money to encourage sequels, because I’d love to see the rest of the books on the big screen.