What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Martin Lawrence is back, teamed up in an incongruous way with yet another white guy, in a comedy containing a bunch of amusing incidents strung together with little plot.

Kevin Caffery (Martin Lawrence) is a thief. One night, he makes the mistake of robbing Max Fairbanks (Danny DeVito) who catches him in the act. As the police come to pick up Kevin, Max claims the ring being worn by Kevin (given to him by his new girlfriend Amber Belhaven (Carmen Ejogo)) is stolen and takes it from him.

The premise about robbing a thief is an interesting one, but What's the Worst That Could Happen? doesn't do too much with it, except making it into an excuse for an all-out war where Kevin and Max butt heads against each other to come out on top. Complicating Max's situation is the fact he is under bankruptcy proceedings and under scrutiny by the U.S. Senate, which allows Kevin to take advantage of him.

The humour is pretty decent and works quite well, with some excellent gags, including the one where Max responds to Martin's insults in front of a Senate committee. The icing on this particular gag is the fact that there is a sign language translator who mimics all the profanities used by Max.

William Fichtner who plays Alex Tardio, a cop on the trail of Kevin and Max, also adds to the laughs for his effeminate demeanor.

Even though Kevin has a normal white accomplice (John Leguizamo), his real partner in crime is the Max character, as illustrated toward the end. There is an incongruity here as the two actors' styles are very different, and each actor generally works best when they have the entire screen to themselves. The above-mentioned Senate gag is the exception.

While I enjoyed the film, I'd not put it on the same level as Blue Streak, Life, or even Big Momma's House. The film is worth the matinee fare or a rental.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org