For those of you who have not read the book, here’s the book’s blurb:
Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash–fast–but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.
Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water–wanted for murder.
Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight–and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.
Now, the book itself is hilarious and a lot of fun; and it’s spawned SEVENTEEN (plus) sequels (and there’s more on the way). This series has a huge fandom and Stephanie Plum is a very popular and well-known character. I am a big fan of the series, as is a lot of people I know, including my closest friends and my blog-partner, Maggie. We are all well-versed in all things Plum. So we were understandably excited to see a movie coming out.
But then, as with most books turned movie, came the crashing disappointment of the casting. I’m of the school of, well, let’s wait and see.
I like Katherine Heigl, but I was concerned because she’s nothing like Stephanie Plum. Stephanie is brash, and maybe a little trashy (Love you, Steph!), is not afraid to get dirty. Ms. Heigl’s persona is the exact opposite. But, you know, she is an actress. I’m sure she can pull it off.
The other major character I was concerned about was Ranger. Ranger is MY MAN. I love him more than is probably understandable, him being a book character, and all. Ranger in the books is this complete bad-ass, hot Cuban-American, skin the color of creamy coffee and a body to die for. The man in my head is drool-worthy.
Daniel Sunjata, who is one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen (and he went to the same college as me!) perfectly fit the bill in my opinion. Ranger in the movie was probably a little more talkative than he is in the books (in the books, especially the early ones, he more or less grunts as a way of communicating).
Joe Morelli, Stephanie’s one-time lover and breaker-of-hearts, was also a major character that had to be filled correctly. Although I wasn’t as concerned with him so much. I love Morelli and he’s great for Stephanie, but Ranger makes me hot, so I was more invested in his casting. They did a great job with Morelli, though. Jason Mara has been in several things I’ve seen and I knew he would do a great job. Plus, he’s pretty great to look at.
The final casting choice that had to be perfect, in my opinion, was, of course, Lula, the ho. Lula is, for the most part, the comedic center of the books. Sure, Stephanie is sometimes a little crazy and clumbsy, but Lula has the best dialog.
Plus her look is so distinct and her personality so out there, the actress playing her had to be JUST RIGHT. I think they hit the nail on the head with Sherri Shephard.
Now that the casting is out of the way (although there were other casting choices that were controversial, like Grandma Mazur, I think the whole movie was pretty much casted impeccably), let’s talk about the actual movie.
As is most often the case, this movie was not as great as the book. But I understand that some things have to be cut for any good book to be turned into a movie. And truthfully, not that much was cut. But I don’t understand why they have to change key scenes or leave out important parts of the book.
In it’s heart, the movie (and the book) was a fast-paced look at a woman learning how to become a bounty hunter. In a lot of ways, the pacing of the movie kind of fell short for me. Because they have to tell a story in two hours, parts of the story become casualties of the cutting room (if they ever made it into the script to begin with). My only real issue with the movie is that I don’t know if I would have understood most of it had I not read the book. (I have the same problem with the Harry Potter movies. I don’t get how people can understand all that is going on when they leave SO MUCH out of the movies.)
In the end, I really enjoyed the movie. We laughed a lot. My best friend, who I saw it with, had an issue with Stephanie saying, “I’m just sayin’,” so much (“She must go on facebook a lot.”), but it didn’t bother me. In the event that they make the next book, I will be there opening weekend again.
Maggie: I was extremely disappointed in the movie. I’ve been reading this series for so long I have expectations and they were not met. I didn’t find the movie funny at all and I think character wise Stephanie was the only one she nailed. The best part about seeing this one in at the movies: my nachos. 2.5/5