What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Poor Martin Lawrence. He's seems to be stuck in an unusual position, considered by some to be a poor-man's Will Smith and other a poor-man's Eddie Murphy. Unfortunately he doesn't display any of the cool wit of Murphy or comic skills of Smith in What's The Worst That Could Happen? In fact, bar a few funny moments, the film is very lacklustre and without the humour and laughs that the cast involved should invoke. Director Sam Weisman biggest mistake is trying to convince the audience that Martin Lawrence will win them over. Weisman is more noted for being a director of TV series and has worked on 7th Heaven, L.A Law, Moonlighting and Family Ties. His films have not been anything special to date and include The Out Of Towner, Bye Bye Love and D2: The Mighty Ducks. His biggest success to date has been the hugely enjoyable George Of The Jungle, but then the cast matched the script very well for that particular film and was well written.

Ok, the thinly veiled disguised of a plot; Kevin Caffery (Lawrence) is probably the most skilful thief around (hmm....Blue Streak flash back) and one day while snooping around an auction house, he meets Amber (Carmen Ejogo). Before you know it Kevin has stolen back for her the painting she was forced to auction and they are both falling in love. Life is good for our Kevin, not only has he picked up the beautiful Amber with a few crap chat-up lines, but she's not minded that he's a thief. Also Amber gives Kevin her father ring, which he believes to be lucky and he swears to keep it safe.

Unfortunately, while trying to burglarise the townhouse of millionaire Max Fairbanks, personified by Danny DeVito (in a role of the sleazebag, which he has been done before and to much better effect in Ruthless People) Kevin gets caught. Max, however, tells the arresting officers that the ring on Kevin's finger belongs to him and Kevin is forced to hand it over to the greedy little millionaire. Thus ensues a battle of wills between the enraged Kevin, which mainly consists of a childish game of thieving one-upmanship, against Max, as both men are now desperate to keep the ring, which means something to both of them. Kevin enlists the help of his friends, who include trusty partner Berger and Uncle Jack (played by John Leguizamo and Bernie Mac respectively). Max also enlists the help  of his psychic mistress (Glenne Headley) and over-zealous bodyguard (an ever dependant Larry Miller). That, unfortunately, is the jist of the whole movie, with Max and Kevin fighting over a little bauble. Kevin breaks into one of Max's houses, Max retaliates with something bigger, Kevin steals, Max retaliates, Kevin steals, Max get mad, Kevin steals and Max gets mad even more.

The whole film is too easy, there is no challenge, whenever anyone gets into a comedic situation, something comes along and it fizzes away. For example, when Kevin and Berger get trapped in Max's house, they luckily have a friend who can bypass any lock and alarm system. Scene over, no tension, no excitement or most importantly, no comedy. The film is filled with similar cop-outs, like tarot cards telling Max when Kevin is in his house and so on. The plot just doesn't work on such thin material and the overly slushy cop-out ending is a travesty to the two leads. Its a very lazy movie.

Martin Lawrence's tries very hard, he wiggles around, prances about, gets very hyper, shines his cocky grin at the camera and even dresses up as an Arabian prince with a wacky accent. Unfortunately the whole performance lacks the charm Lawrence displayed in some of his other roles, especially Bad Boys and the more 'minor' roles played in Boomerang and even House Party. DeVito plays the sleazy millionaire well, but there is always something funny about DeVito, probably just because he suits this type role so well. The pairing of these two should have been a gold-mine but sadly due to circumstances beyond their control the film feels very lacklustre and as if it could have been much more than what it is. The supporting cast are very good, especially Miller as the body guard and Mac as Uncle John. Again, however, these two are always dependable in supporting roles and are not 'head-liner' stars.

So to sum up, watch this if you like Martin Lawrence or Danny DeVito, but you would probably be wiser to wait for it to come out on video (that way you can at least fast forward to the few humorous scenes). As mentioned before, its a lazy movie that doesn't really try to put in the effort that the stars are capable of. Martin Lawrence's films need good casting and a good script to entertain, and having one of the two, as in this case, just doesn't cut it.

 SCORE 4/10