Kevin Caffery (Martin Lawrence) is a professional thief with taste and style 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. Only one problemÂ… the ring was given to Kevin by his new love, and he is determined to get it back. How far will these two men go? As far as they have to. Even if it means divorce, public scandal, financial ruin, and prison. This battle of capitalist vs. robber escalates into a colossal tournament of egos threatening to take both men and everyone around them down. Perhaps this "lucky ring" may not be so lucky after all.
Those of us looking for the opportunity to compare a Martin Lawrence turn to a Robert Redford performance based on the same character — Donald E. Westlake's determined bad guy John Dortmunder — still have a while to wait. In the new film adaptation of the author's "What's the Worst That Could Happen?," Mr. Westlake's skillful but hapless Dortmunder, portrayed by Mr. Redford in 1972 in "The Hot Rock," is transformed into the latest of Mr. Lawrence's bungling, bling-blinging protagonists. This time, Mr. Lawrence is a professional thief who becomes obsessed with Danny DeVito, a white-collar criminal. The picture turns into a cobweb of tricky spins and twists that seems like a hip-hop of version of "Ruthless People," with everyone falling back on his specialty. With its set of cliches, the movie is a dreary walk down comedy's memory lane. Mr. Lawrence has added to his delivery a layer of dry ice that almost freezes the others out entirely. Fortunately, his cool can't insulate him from Bernie Mac, who plays his fence, Uncle Jack, as if he already owns the picture and is scouting for the best price he can get. But if Uncle Jack bursts onto the screen, it's William Fichtner's rococo turn that's hard to watch and take your eyes off. He saunters in on a cloud of proud but indeterminate sexuality, with hair made of lemon spun sugar. — Elvis Mitchell
2001-06-01 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of What's The Worst That Could Happen?