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Film / One for the Money

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One for the Money is a 2012 American crime comedy film adapted from the 1994 novel of the same name by Janet Evanovich, directed by Julie Anne Robinson and starring Katherine Heigl.

Stephanie Plum (Heigl) is a born-and-bred Joisey girl who finds herself in financial straits when she's fired from her job as manager of the lingerie department at Macy's. After being rejected for a variety of demeaning jobs, she blackmails her bail-bondsman cousin Vinnie into letting her recover some of his bail-jumpers for him.

Taking in small-time quarries for the money, Plum has her sights set on the $50,000 bounty for the capture of her ex-boyfriend, vice cop and murder suspect Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara). As she gathers evidence to track Morelli, she comes to suspect that he may not actually be guilty.

This film includes examples of:

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: Several plot elements introduced in Two for the Dough (such as Big Blue and Lula starting work at the Bond's Office) were incorporated into this film. References were also made to Ranger expanding into securities, which was introduced later in the books.
    • Katherine Heigl and Janet Evanovich both suggested this would've been taken further had more movies been made - since the series was too large to realistically film each individual entry, they felt compositing various elements from the books into several films was the most feasible route.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Benito Ramirez's attack on Lula is far more violent in the book. He leaves her lying naked and battered on Stephanie's fire escape and she spends the remainder of the novel in a coma. In the movie, she is beaten and thrown out of a truck, and is released from the hospital shortly thereafter.
    • References to Vinnie’s alleged relations with a duck, which Stephanie used to blackmail him in the novel, were omitted. Stephanie blackmails Vinnie in the film by mentioning his drunkenly making out with her at her own wedding, plus threatening to tell his wife about his encounters with a dominatrix.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The novel’s Mrs. Santiago becomes Rosa Gomez for the film.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Compared to his book counterpart, Morty Beyers is a lot more outwardly nasty and condescending, and doesn’t put on a nice guy act when talking to Stephanie.
  • Adapted Out: Clarence Sampson does not appear, though he is briefly mentioned. His omission also led to Carl Constanza being removed.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Lula and Jackie have larger roles here than in the novel, partly because Ramirez’s attack does not put Lula into a coma.
    • Mary Lou also has more to do, with Stephanie frequently calling her to give updates on the Morrelli case.
    • William Earling has slightly more screentime compared to his book counterpart as a result of taking Clarence Sampson’s place in the story as Stephanie’s first FTA.
  • Backhanded Compliment: Stephanie seems to be a magnet for them.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Stephanie and Morelli.
  • Big Eater:
    • Stephanie manages to stay thin and toned despite eating nothing but bad carbs and fat. Lampshaded by Joe:
    Joe: [ransacking Stephanie's apartment while she's handcuffed to the shower curtain rail] I don't get it. How can a person eat like ya eat, and look like ya look?
    • Lula is also a big eater and, unlike Stephanie, has a body to reflect the fact.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Stephanie fires a total of seven rounds from her five-shot revolver when she shoots the Big Bad at the end. She also fires far more than five shots without reloading when taking target practice at one point earlier in the film (although this could be due to editing).
  • Bounty Hunter: A career path Stephanie takes up out of desperation, and isn't very good at. She gets better.
  • The Casanova: Half the women in Jersey "sold [Morelli] a cannoli".
  • Compressed Adaptation:
    • Stephanie's apprehension of Clarence Sampson, a rather lengthy segment of the novel, was completely omitted. Handwaved (and subtly lampshaded) in the film by Stephanie claiming it would take too long to track him down. She opts to go after William Earling first instead.
    • Morelli tossing Stephanie's keys into the dumpster occurs much later in the book; the film incorporates this event into their first onscreen encounter.
    • Stephanie’s showdown with Jimmy Alpha occurs at her apartment in the book, but the film merges this with the events at the marina. Stephanie also subdues and pepper sprays Benito Ramirez during this sequence, an event which occurred earlier in the book.
    • Screenwriter Liz Brixius revealed that she used the abridged audiobook as her template. As it was a shortened version of the story that had author approval, she felt it would be a useful guide.
  • Damsel in Distress: Surprisingly inverted, as Stephanie manages to knock a guy to the ground and handcuff him after he shoots Ranger, she pepper sprays Benito Ramirez while he's fighting Joe, allowing him to knock out Benito, and when Big Bad Jimmy Alpha has Stephanie and Joe cornered and is planning to kill them, Stephanie knocks him down and he shoots her in the ass, but it barely slows her down and she manages to grab a gun from her purse and promptly shoots Jimmy in the chest five times in a row.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Connie Rossoli, Vinnie's office manager.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Grandma Mazur, as a result of editing. B-Roll footage and publicity stills show a number of scenes with Debbie Reynolds were either shortened or removed entirely. She disappears from the film completely after 40 minutes.
    • Though still threatening, most instances of Benito Ramirez harassing Stephanie were omitted, reducing his screentime significantly compared to the novel (also see Adaptation Distillation above).
  • Fanservice: Stephanie in the shower, and later stripped down to her bra so Morelli can attach a wire.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Morelli barges in on Stephanie in the shower, causing her to cover herself in panic. He gives her a Modesty Towel and handcuffs her to the shower rod, while he searches her apartment for his car keys. When he can't find them, he comes back and takes away her towel, leaving her naked and handcuffed to her shower rod. She has to call Ranger to get her out, while she's barely covering herself with the curtain.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Bernie Kuntz.
  • Inspiration Nod: The animated opening credits feature lipstick tubes being fired out of a gun like bullets, a motif used on the first edition covers for several of the early books.
  • Kissing Cousins: Stephanie blackmailed her cousin Vinnie into giving her the job because he tried to make out with her at her wedding. And because his dominatrix is Stephanie's manicurist and gave her additional dirt.
  • Lighter and Softer: Though retaining the same main story as its source novel, the film is noticeably more comedic and less overtly violent, in an attempt to make it feel more tonally in line with later books in the series. As an example, Stephanie’s interactions with Lula and Jackie are considerably more humorous, eliminating the often graphic descriptions of Ramirez’s known abuse.
  • Lingerie Scene: Stephanie takes her shirt off so Morelli can attach a Hidden Wire. He pauses to admire her breasts for a few seconds and compliments her on her pretty bra before proceeding. The camera zooms in on her breasts while he’s taping the device to her cleavage.
  • Naked People Are Funny: One of Stephanie's quarries is her elderly neighbor who refuses to wear clothes...ever.
  • Race Lift: Novel character John Kuzack (a slightly alcoholic Vietnam veteran) becomes John Cho (a marijuina smoker and drummer).
  • Running Gag: Lula’s hairstyle changes in every scene.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • Stephanie gets naked and handcuffed to a shower and is just barely covered by the shower curtain.
    • An old man who likes to expose himself is covered by conveniently placed objects, thank goodness.
  • Setting Update: The film takes place in 2011, the year of intended release, instead of 1994, the year the book was published and set. This makes sense, not only for budgetary reasons but also because each subsequent book always reflects the time and technology of when it was written.
  • Shower of Awkward: When Morelli barges in on Stephanie in the shower. And later, when Ranger comes to unlock the handcuffs tethering her to the curtain rod.
  • The Stoic: This version of Vinnie's secretary Connie is fairly unemotional.
  • Supreme Chef: Morelli, who whips up an amazing omelet using only the leftovers in Stephanie's fridge.
  • Those Two Girls: Lula and Jackie, who call themselves hooker good cop bad cop in their interactions with Stephanie.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Stephanie isn't very impressive at the end of the movie, but is leaps and bounds ahead of where she started.