WITH YET ANOTHER ho-hum run at the multiplexes, Katherine Heigl’s big-screen resumé is fast looking like an insider’s gag. The films that have preceded this – among them: THE UGLY TRUTH, KILLERS, LIFE AS WE KNOW IT and 27 DRESSES – all point to a star in dire need of a new agent (and a fresh perspective). If this latest throwaway is indeed as the title suggests, that may well have to come soon.
Here, once again, the former GREY’S ANATOMY star – an award-winning one at that – who so lit up Judd Apatow’s KNOCKED UP ploughs the depths of Hollywood’s weakest comedic dirge. As an executive producer, she even helped get the thing made.
Heigl here is Stephanie Plum: a divorced New Jersey brunette (or auburn-ette, to be precise), whose Macy’s day job has given way to an unlikely career as a bounty hunter. Based on an exhaustive, best-selling series of tomes by Janet Evanovich, this may have been optioned as the first of many, if all had gone according to plan.
Alas, for all Heigl’s screen presence – and her sexy sparring with co-stars Mara and Sunjata – the vehicle splutters early on, before running out of gas. There’s a convoluted trail for Ms Plum to follow – working for her cousin’s bail bond company is merely the tip of a bloody iceberg of crime she finds herself in – with former squeeze Joe Morelli (O’Mara) both her target and her aide. But with join-the-dot treatment in every sense, it’s a chore.
The one potentially saving grace – Debbie Reynolds, as a feisty grandmother – is a hoot, but is absurdly kept in the background.
Only last month, Heigl expressed a keen interest to resurrect her Grey’s Anatomy character of Dr Izzy Stevens sooner rather than later (she left the show in 2010 ostensibly to raise her adopted daughter, rather than to pursue her big-screen career). Judging by this laboured affair, she is well advised to revisit her glorious past as swiftly as possible.
Critical Rating: 1/10.
First published in The Sun-Herald.