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
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
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