The good news for Katherine Heigl fans - if there is such a thing - is that after "One For The Money", there is no place for her to go but up. Of course, I leave room by giving this a half crown and not a zero.


The half goes to Sherri Shepherd's role as Lula the hooker. There just isn't enough of her to save the film from itself, and probably not save the series. And yes, this is the first of a series written by Janet Evanovich about Stephanie Plum. Other titles include Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, Four to Score, High Five, all the way up to Explosive Eighteen. Moreover, there are supposedly fans of the series and the character - an out of work gal with bills up the wazoo who needs money in a hurry.


I don't know if Evanovich had any input on the screenplay or any aspect of the film production, but I'm pretty sure that Heigl is probably not the person she had in mind to play Plum.

Plum has lost her job and her life is in the repo mode. She talks her cousin Vinnie (doesn't your skin crawl right now?) played by Patrick Fischler to give her a shot as a bounty hunter. Now, she knows jack about the profession other than she needs tp make some money in a hurry.


Of course, Vinnie obliges and hooks her up with Ranger () an experienced guy who can teach her everything she needs to know within the hour and forty minute time frame of this movie.


Handling a gun is one of those things she needs to know and fresh from "Killers" (where Heigl also learns to play with guns in a hurry) she ineptly figures it out.


Her first assignment should be a breeze as she has to track down her ex-beau Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara) who's on the run for murder. there is a $50,000 bouty on his head and Plum would love nothing more than to collect it on him.

Soon however, it turns out that Morelli is into far more than just a simple murder. [Gasp] Now, Plum inexperience and all, is in the middle of a huge case.


There is lots of shooting and killing and very awkward quips made after every event. Oh, did I mention poorly delivered.


Then there is her Grandmother played by Debbie Reynolds - who sold her incredible Hollywood Collection in 2001 and apparently needs even more money - and is the only character that fits; her thoughts are as disjointed as this story.


Lula the hooker is the only character who makes sense. It is my understanding that in future books, her character becomes much more involved than the glance we get of her here; but my thoughts are this will be a one and done situation.


Heigl's Plum is far too cute, far too glamorous to be remotely considered blue-collar. Moreover, she is far to glib during killings for someone who is a novice. The story is far to confusing as if something was left out. Maybe fans of the book who dare to see this can tell me what is missing.


"One For the Money" is bad at best; a confused heap of unbelievable characters anchored by an overly hyped Katherine Heigl who has stepped far out of her realm of "27 Dresses".   -- GEOFF BURTON