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What's the Worst That Could Happen?

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Danny DeVito
Director: Sam Weisman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Nora Dunn, William Fichtner, Bernie Mac, Carmen Ejogo, John Leguizamo

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewvideo review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

What's the worst that could happen? Well, you could be watching FREDDIE GOT FINGERED, the worst movie of the year and perhaps the decade, rather than WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? The latter, while it isn't particularly funny, may not even be the worst comedy of the week. (THE ANIMAL screens later this week.)

In this anti-buddy comedy, Martin Lawrence plays thief Kevin Caffery, a self-described "connoisseur of all things portable," and Danny DeVito plays Max Fairbanks, a shady billionaire who is currently running a big bankruptcy scam. Max is the obnoxious sort who is currently shagging Miss September on the sly and who calls women a stream of endearments from "sugar cakes" to "snuggle bunny." (What has happened to old reliable DeVito? His previous 2 films, DROWNING MONA and the aptly named SCREWED, were perfectly awful.)

Their game of mutual payback begins when Max robs Kevin of the ring that his girlfriend, Amber Belhaven (Carmen Ejogo), has just given him. Max feels no guilt since Kevin has just robbed one of Max's mansions. Kevin, his sidekick Berger (John Leguizamo) and the rest of Kevin's friends then set out to steal more from Max, all the while trying to retrieve Amber's ring.

Typical of the story's gags is Kevin's inability to tell a lie without blinking. Sam Weisman (THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS), who directs with ham handed obviousness, has Lawrence exaggerate his blinking like a stage actor who needs to make sure that even those audience members way back in the cheap seats can still see his gestures.

In a story full of bizarre characters, none is more so than Detective Alex Tardio (William Fichtner, THE PERFECT STORM). Prissing around in shades of white from his big blonde hair to his light colored alligator boots, the detective is pulled along by his three snow white poodles. Just in case the visuals aren't enough to have you in stitches, the dogs turn out to have a major flatulence problem.

This juvenile comedy, with its recycled humor that seems always aimed squarely at kids around 12 or so, does have one truly funny scene. As Max testifies before a Senate committee, Kevin calls him on his cell phone and begins to harass him. This causes Max to unleash a stream of expletives. The television camera bleeps it all out, but the sign language translator relishes her big opportunity to ad lib with some obvious but nonetheless hilarious gestures.

WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for language and sexual content and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, thought the picture was really funny and gave it *** 1/2. His favorite scene was the same as mine, the Senate hearing.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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