by Greg Muskewitz
To answer the question posed by the movie title “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?,” the proper response would be to have to sit through it more than once.Because while the first experience was excruciating enough, the title is asking for what’s worse. Another Martin Lawrence vehicle, placing him as, yet again, a thief (in the lineage of “Blue Streak,” a more clever, funnier vehicle for Lawrence) in which we are to take to him as a lovable anti-hero. The deviation here is that while he and partner John Leguizamo (also in this week’s “Moulin Rouge”) attempt to rob a house, it just so happens that the owner, Danny DeVito is there with his mistress Playboy Bunny. At the time of the arrest, DeVito has a bit of fun, and winds up boosting the ring Lawrence’s new girlfriend gave him. However, instead of making the effort to get it back for her sake, Lawrence makes a vendetta out of it. The results fall flat, like a stunt double landing on an airless airbag. The humor and jokes are all structured around stereotypical and banal scripting (written by Matthew Chapman), and an overall starched and callow story. There is an unmistakable paltriness and unfavorable attitude directed towards the women characters, who are all extremely shallow, stupid, abused (not physically, but you know what I mean) and berated. Why some of the people who were in this decided to do the movie, escapes me. The only things of any worth here, is the brief, miniscule performance of Siobhan Fallon, and the “fuck you” scene in the court room, where DeVito goes off on Lawrence while on TV, speaking to him over the phone. However, it is beyond me how this still remained within a PG-13 range despite all of the vituperation, which was approximately pari passu to “Billy Elliot.
"It could have been worse, but it deserves prosecution."
With Glenne Headly, Carmen Ejogo, Bernie Mac, Nora Dunn, (the minorly amusing) William Fichtner, GQ, Larry Miller and Ana Gasteyer.Final Verdict: D-.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5273&reviewer=172
originally posted: 06/02/01 18:07:26