What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
Odd couple. Lawrence and DeVito seem to want to create a franchise film duo here - as if!
dir Sam Weisman
scr Matthew Chapman
with Martin Lawrence, Danny DeVito, John Leguizamo, Carmen Ejogo, Glenne Headley, Nora Dunn, William Fichtner, Bernie Mac, Larry Miller, Richard Schiff, Ana Gasteyer, Lenny Clarke
release US 1.Jun.01; UK Apr.02
01/US 1h38

1½ out of 5 stars
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Rule of thumb: Never put the word 'worst' in your film title. Especially if the film in question is a resolutely unfunny Martin Lawrence comedy. He stars as Kevin, a cat burglar who falls in love with the lovely Amber (Ejogo) ... and she inexplicably falls for him right back. Then while robbing zillionaire business tycoon Max (DeVito), the tycoon steals from Kevin a ring Amber gave him. And a war erupts between the two men over who gets the ring. Plots, counterplots and more ensue, dragging in Kevin's pals (Leguizamo and Mac, among others), Max's wife (Dunn) and assistants (Headley, Miller, Schiff), and a quirky detective (Fichtner).

To be fair, there are a few mild laughs to be had in this film, mostly due to decent performances from the side characters and a very twisted plot, courtesy Donald E Westlake's novel. Lawrence hams his way through the role shamelessly, trying far too hard to make each scene zany fun and failing miserably every time. Director Weisman seems unsure of himself as well--is this clever Ruthless People-style humour, good-hearted anarchy, or goofy Farrelly Bros vulgarity? Since he never decides, the resulting film isn't any of the above. It's nothing at all. Not funny. Not remotely satirical (it never even tries to touch on the themes of machismo or aggression). Not romantic. Nothing. Even so, it's breezy enough to avoid being the 'worst' film I've seen recently. But only just.
themes, language, vulgarity cert 15 13.Feb.02

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© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall