One For The Money – Book vs Movie

28 Jan

I’ve been a big fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books for a long time, and I’ve been excited for the movie version of the first book for years. Since we all know that movies never live up to the book, I made sure to lower my expectations a lot. I went to see it this morning, and I was pleasantly surprised. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the book versus the movie.

The Bad

Stephanie’s Parents’ House
Everyone knows that Stephanie’s parents live in a duplex in the burg. It’s got siding panted mustard yellow with brown trim. The movie version had the Plums living in a brick single family home. Wrong.

Stephanie’s Apartment
Stephanie’s movie apartment was messier than I pictured it, but that isn’t what really bothered me. The layout was all wrong.

Big Blue
First of all, Stephanie didn’t drive Big Blue in One for the Money. Second, Big Blue is a powder blue ’53 Buick. I don’t know what year that car was in the movie, but it was not a ’53. Also, Joe’s car is a Jeep Cherokee in the book, not the Ford Explorer from the movie.

This is a 1953 Buick…

And this is the best picture of the movie car I could find…

Jimmy Alpha
Here’s how the book described Alpha:
“His face was lined and had a good start on jowls. His stocky body still showed muscle, but age had added love handles to his waist and streaks of gunmetal gray to his slicked-back hair. I placed him in his late fifties…”
And here’s how he looked in the movie:

Ranger
All I can say about Ranger is he was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. His appearance, his voice, his clothes, the way he acted. It was all wrong.

The Good

Stephanie
I have to admit that I had very low expectations for Katherine Heigl as Stephanie. But somehow, it worked. I liked her. Two nit-picky things, in the last scene she was wearing a sundress. Stephanie doesn’t wear sundresses. And her accent was just off, plus it came and went throughout the movie. It wasn’t awful, and really wasn’t even that distracting, just something I noticed.

The Bonds Office
I really liked everything about the bail bonds office. The office itself, Connie, Vinnie, I liked it all and thought it was all very true to the book.

Stephanie’s Family
I wasn’t sure about Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur because the book described her as being super skinny, but I should have known better. Debbie Reynolds can pull off anything, and she was hilarious as kooky Grandma Mazur. Stephanie’s parents were also great, and looked and sounded exactly like I imagined them while reading the books.

Technology Updates
The book was written in 1994, so no one had cell phones. The movie managed to work in cell phones without taking away from the plot. That sounds stupid now that I’ve typed it out, but it did impress me. I mean really, what did we do before cell phones?

Script/Plot
The movie made a few small changes to the plot, most likely for time. They were all very minor things, and didn’t change the main plot at all. I won’t say anything else about that, because I don’t want to risk giving anything away. I can totally understand this, because if they used the book for the script the movie would have been five hours long.

Final Verdict

Taking into account the good and the bad, I think the movie was a winner. My love for the books probably colored my opinion, but I really did love the movie. It was fun, it was funny, and I really loved seeing one of my favorite books on the big screen.

If you like the Stephanie Plum books, you won’t be disappointed with the movie. So check out One For the Money (the movie) now!

Have you seen the movie yet? Read the books? What do you think?

*Note: I didn’t say anything about Lula, because she had a pretty minor role in the first book. If they make more movies, I’m sure I’ll have an opinion about her!

8 Responses to “One For The Money – Book vs Movie”

  1. Melissa January 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    I must be living under a rock, because I haven’t heard of this movie! And I’ve read all the books. I’m stopping by from SITS, and I really enjoyed your review. You spoke about the content of the movie, the adaptation from the book — without giving anything away. Based on your review (glad you warned me about the changes to things like the house and car) I’d like to see it. Thanks! :)
    Melissa recently posted..Grocery Shopping With KidsMy Profile

    • Lady Anne January 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

      Thank you so much! I was so worried about including spoilers – this is why I’m always so hesitant to review books or movies! The movie really was fun – I hope they keep going and make more of them. :)

  2. Jackie January 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I LOVE the books and hope that they didn’t ruin it to much… that said from what you thought it shouldn’t be to bad.
    The image I have of Lulu is very similar to what I saw in the preview. Oh, and I agree with your thoughts on Ranger… he just didn’t look like what I had imagined.

    • Lady Anne January 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      The little bit of Lula that we get to see in the movie is exactly how I always imagined her – I was really happy with that. :)

  3. Kevin February 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I agree with you about Ranger, big blue, Grandma Mazur and the house and apt. I also thought Morelli was off as was Vinny. I do like Sherry Sheppard as an actress, but, not as Lula and it will make a difference in the future. Some of my suggestions: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Ranger, Mo’nique as Lula, Betty White as Grandma Mazur, Gerard Butler as Morelli, maybe David Spade as Vinny and Tiffany Thiessen as Connie.

    • Lady Anne February 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      It’s so funny that you said that, because in my “mental casting” I always pictured Mo’nique as Lula and The Rock as Ranger.

      • Noelle October 9, 2013 at 6:39 am #

        Lol, I’d totally pictured The Rock as Ranger and Betty White as Grandma Mazur – I’d pictured Denny Duquette as Morelli, but I know he’s too mature. David Spade would be brilliant as Vinny!

  4. Penny November 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    I liked the movie better than I thought I would, but I was very disappointed in the details, such as the car, and even more disappointed in Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur, which is more how I picture her mom. From the books, to me Grandma is more of a Maxine (cartoon character) meets Madonna. So, DR was just a bit too straight-laced for my mind’s eye. I didn’t mind Ranger as much as I did Joe Morelli. The Irish guy instead of the Hot Italian didn’t cut it for me. I think The Rock is too tall, but I can see why one would see him in that place. Ranger is Stephanie’s height, and Joe is taller than her.