Friday, February 3, 2012

One for the Money

A secret vice of mine is partially reading Janet Evanovich novels about her Trenton, N.J. bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.  I enjoy the setting--Trenton has an ethnic, all kinds of ethnic, neighborhood called the Burg--and the character but eventually the feeble plotting and somewhat ludicrous behavior of many of the characters (other than Stephanie) gets to me and I put the paperback down, rarely to return to it.  There are now 18 of this series--17 in paperback.  

Tonight Eileen and I went to see One for the Money, the first movie made from one of these mysteries--as I said, the plotting is so thin that you can barely call them mysteries; Graham Greene's term, entertainments, is the most appropriate descriptive. The movie stars Katherine Heigl, who admittedly is not very believable as the half-Hungarian, half-Italian Stephanie, and various lesser-known players, with Debbie Reynolds stealing many scenes as her grandmother, making this character more credible than in the novels.

The critics universally panned the picture and the small theater in the multiplex where we saw it was not well filled.  Everyone's review dumped on Heigl and the writing and the directing and just about everything and everyone else. I'm not the easiest person to win over for a movie but I think they all are wrong. This movie is just plain fun.  There's none of what I usually despise like stupid slapstick or childish fun and games.  

The dialogue is pretty decent and the good lines came from the better parts of Evanovich's first novel of the series. Those of us who read most of them appreciated the playing of her two male friends, Morelli and Ranger.  Both were nicely played. So what if the Italian Morelli was played by Jason O'Mara?

I used to think movie critics are the worst species of critic--they run in packs and have no feel for what the reasonably intelligent viewer is seeking.  This confirmed all my old prejudices against most of the movie critics I have read. They were so busy crowing about a boring outing like Hugo that they couldn't appreciate some simple enjoyment that this one provides. The one critic I usually find worth reading (because of course I tend to agree with him) is Roger Ebert; as far as I can tell, he hasn't reviewed it as of today.

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