Monday, January 30, 2012

Movie Monday: One for the Money

One for the Money is a book written by Janet Evanovich, who is easily my favorite writer. It's not a classic, nor is it what you'd call literature. It's not poetic, or particularly evocative writing. It's not intellectual or really challenging to read. There's no lesson, or moral or even really a point to the Stephanie Plum novels (there are 18 now).

But the books make me laugh out loud. No other book - none - has ever gotten such an honest, true reaction from me.

They're a fun, easy read that leaves you wanting more. The first book was published in 1994, and I think I started reading them around 1998 or so. Believe it or not - my father introduced me.

Fourteen years is a long time. I consider myself pretty invested in these characters and stories. Years ago, I started hoping they would make a movie. I talked about it with other fans, and together we came up with a cast to bring life to our favorite characters.

But now those actors are all too old to play the parts. One even died. So the movie, that came out on Friday, has a whole different set of actors.

That's tough; when you read a series of books, you get an idea of what the characters would look like, and you visualize the setting, and the scenarios. To see it all brought to life on the big screen can be exciting, but also a little scary.

What if they don't get it right? What if the author doesn't consult, or worse yet, her vision is different than yours? The last time I had this issue was with the Harry Potter books. I stumbled upon those by accident, and was immediately hooked. When the first movie came out, I was excited - but also nervous it wouldn't do the book justice. Those movies were so loyal to the books that it was as if they'd been pulled right from my imagination.

I was worried that One for the Money wouldn't do the same. First of all - Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum?! That seemed wrong. The actors chosen to play the two leading men (Morelli and Ranger) weren't quite right, either. And Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur?! Awful. Sheri Sheppard as Lula made sense, though.

I went to see the movie yesterday, and it turned out, they were very loyal to the original story. Ranger and Morelli were played just right, even if they don't look exactly like I expected (Morelli's hair wasn't long enough and Ranger wasn't tall enough). Their lines and delivery were flawless - just like I imagined. Even Heigl wasn't that bad - though, I felt like she played Stephanie a little dumb, and I don't imagine Stephanie as dimwit at all, just an average, single gal - whose cars routinely explode.

I was right about Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur. She pulled off the older-lady-with-an-attitude - but she's too young to play the real Grandma. The whole point of the character is that her actions don't mesh with her age - why Betty White wasn't cast for this role is beyond me.

All in all, it was a decent - but not great - movie. It was fun to life brought to my all-time favorite characters. I enjoyed it more having read the book, and anticipating what will happen next. Honestly, for the non-Stephanie-Plum fan - you're better off reading the book, first.

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