By Sarah Sluis
Back when I watched "Grey's Anatomy," Katherine Heigl was one of the series' most compelling performers. Her star personality oozed warmth and accessibility. But then everything in the press started turning against her. She trashed the film Knocked Up for being sexist, a move many found both unprofessional and ungrateful. She dropped out of Valentine's Day due to a salary dispute, and similar sparring led to her demise on "Grey's Anatomy." There were rumors going around that she needed a different leading man to star with her in each film because no one would work with her again. Then her latest film, One for the Money, had numerous release date changes. Pushed from the summer lineup, it's now going for a January 27, 2012, release date. Yes, the January doldrums. Last year, a couple films released to modest success, like No Strings Attached ($70 million) and The Green Hornet ($98 million), but it's certainly not the place one would imagine positioning a budding franchise.
The trailer for Heigl's One for the Money released this week, giving viewers a first glimpse of Heigl as the best-selling Stephanie Plum character. Heigl sports an on-and-off Jersey accent and the plot is unexpectedly blue-collar. Plum is a lingerie saleswoman who is laid off and finds work as a bail bondswoman. One of her first missions is tracking down an ex for whom she still has feelings. It's surprisingly trashy, from her abrasive, done-up co-worker to seeing Sherri Shepherd ("The View") play a hungry, hungry hooker.
Despite the delays and Heigl's tainted image, could this movie be the first in a franchise? Female-driven films have done surprisingly well at the box office lately. One for the Money is based on a series of books by Janet Evanovich that has sold millions of copies. While plenty of male-driven pulp series have been turned into action and crime franchises, the same hasn't happened for female-targeted series. One for the Money could surprise, as long as it's not a stinker. That's one scent that spoils the word-of-mouth that female-driven films rely on. The trailer, sadly, does not exclude that possibility.