Whats The Worst that Could Happen
Kevin Caffery (Martin Lawrence) is a professional thief who gets a tip for an easy heist: billionaire tycoon Max Fairbanks’ (Danny DeVito) unoccupied beachfront mansion. But as Kevin is tossing Faberge eggs into his professional pillowcase, he finds himself face to face with the billionaire. Just before the cops drag Kevin away, Max spies Kevin’s good-luck ring and decides to claim it as his own. The ring was given to Kevin by his new love, and he is determined to get it back. The battle of capitalist vs. robber escalates into a colossal tournament of egos threatening to ruin both men and everyone around them.
While the film veers away from most of the crude humor associated with today’s comedies, it still has enough bawdiness – and offensiveness – to go around. There’s a flamboyant police detective to make fun of. (Gays won’t like that.) A ditzy old lady maces the cops. (The elderly have grounds to scream ageism.) And the lead and his hammy sidekick disguise themselves as cartoonish stereotypical Arab sheiks. (Middle Eastern defamation groups won’t be pleased, either). Nothing the two male leads and the supporting players do on screen could possibly be misconstrued as acting. The director has a muddy visual sense, reducing characters to caricatures and giving the asinine plot a rhythm-less pace. And evidently, producers still believe that a gas attack is essential to every would be comedy. (Here the scatological humor is represented by a set of pampered puppies that share intestinal discomfort.) Admittedly, there is something entertaining about con artists. There was Cary Grant’s “To Catch A Thief,” about a reformed cat burglar accused of recent Riviera robberies. Then TV’s “It Takes A Thief” with Robert Wagner as a thief forced to work for the government. And of course, nobody could pull off “The Sting” better than Paul Newman and Bob Redford. These were fun movies. Perhaps viewers enjoyed them because they were somehow cathartic. But, in a way, each of those characters found a kind of redemption. Not so in “What’s The Worst…” The leads, their girlfriends, and their associates are each amoral. There is no suave roguishness about them. They’re thieves. Nothing more. And stealing is only wrong when someone does it to them. Now, I’m not suggesting there aren’t a few laughs associated with this film. But I found no redeeming value to either the script or the characters. What’s The Worst That Could Happen? Well, because I’m a film reviewer, I had to sit through this 95 minutes of soporific claptrap. That’s about as bad as it gets. Please, let’s not contemplate a sequel.