What’s The Worst That Could Happen? (2001)

<strong class="MovieTitle">What’s The Worst That Could Happen?</strong> (2001)

(In theaters, May 2001) For an actor, the worst that can happen is to be upstaged by animals, kids or character actors. For Martin Lawrence, this happens with a unnerving frequency, which isn’t surprising given his almost total lack of screen presence. In What’s The Worst That Could Happen?, Lawrence once again takes on a role that he’s ill-prepared to fill. In this case, that of an expect cat burglar whose skill is only matched by smarminess. With Lawrence, we get all the smarminess, but no real idea of the skill. The script isn’t much help, starting with a gag-inducing romance that’s reason enough to walk out. But stick with the film long enough and gems will appear. No, said gem isn’t Danny DeVito, who turns in a completely routine neurotic billionaire performance. No, said gems are the various supporting characters, all of whom are more interesting than protagonist and antagonist. Headlined by the always-excellent William Fichner as a flamboyant police inspector, you’ll reach for the smaller characters like a drowning man to a lifesaver jacket, because the rest of the film remains tedious and obvious, not to mention not-that-funny. (The deaf-language translation of the swearing is a typical example, sucking off considerable energy from two otherwise good scenes.) The conclusion is highly problematic, trying to patch a happy-happy ending on the film at the expense of everything else. The worst that could happen would be for you to waste your money on this film when so many other better ones exist.

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