ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  sam weisman

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  97 minutes

RELEASED  -  1 june 2001


OFFICIAL SITE  -  what's the worst?

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $45,000,000
what's the worst that could happen? - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from what's the worst that could happen? at

buy the dvd from what's the worst that could happen? at

a rich man catches a thief burglarizing his home and steals the thief's lucky ring, who then tries to get it back.

this movie was originally a project for heath ledger.


picture from what's the worst that could happen?

picture from what's the worst that could happen?

picture from what's the worst that could happen?


two out of four possible stars

This film was a good laugher worthy of more than a few belly laughs. Many people don't respect how hard comedy can be and usually just discount it as superfluous buns. But it's not as easy at it looks. Comic timing and good delivery of lines has a lot to do with it. The funniest writer in the world can't make a script funny if the actor can't carry the lines well. The stars of this film have good chemistry and are enjoyable to watch.

And Martin Lawrence carries the film very well. He and Danny Devito have good comedic chemistry and through the movie, although one plays a crook, and the other a crooked business man, it's hard to hate either one of the actors' characters. And this is fun, because it creates a world where everybody isn't just good or bad. Movies that have such clear lines drawn between the good guys and the bad guys tend to be predictable and boring, but in What's the Worst that Could Happen?, everyone in the film has a little bad and a little good in them.

Now I'm not saying the film wasn't a tiny bit predictable, but that's not really the point of the story. It's interesting to pay attention to the comedic episodes that the characters find themselves in, rather than focusing on the story. And for all intents and purposes, the story is pretty simple, and doesn't require a lot of brain power to dissect. Martin Lawrence plays a thief who gets caught in the act by Danny Devito, the rich business man whose house he's burglarizing. After calling the police, Danny's character, "Max Fairbanks," steals a ring from Lawrence's character, "Kevin Caffrey," that Lawrence's girlfriend gave to him.

The rest of the movie deals with Lawrence chasing Devito all around the city, trying to get the ring back. While attempting to get the ring, Lawrence burglarizes several more of Devito's properties. Because it is easy to forget the simple plot, laughing at the characters' antics becomes much easier. And it's not that hard to laugh at the character's actions. Both Devito and Lawrence are very physical in their comedy and both have mastered that comedic "look" of being able to convey something funny without saying a word. But something that actually made it hard to appreciate Lawrence and Devito's characters was the abundance of supporting characters in the film.

There were at least eight minor characters who all had roles in the film that were somewhat substantial. Having this many characters in one film creates a lot of relationships between those characters that have to be created. Sometimes it got overwhelming because so many people had been introduced. Supporting characters included: John Leguizamo (as berger), Glenne Headly (as Gloria), Carmen Ejogo (as Amber Belhaven), Bernie Mac (as Jack Caffrey), Larry Miller (as Earl Radburn), nora dunn (as lutetia Fairbanks), Richard Schiff (as Walter Graeenbaum), and William Fichtner (as Det. Alex Tardio). William Fichtner's character was absolutely hilarious, but his part in the film was kind of superfluous. He plays a detective in the film who is investigating the crimes that Lawrence's character had been committing. And although the character is one of the funniest in the film, he is just one of so many funny characters who all have some impact on the film.

This movie was not long enough, nor was it's scope broad enough (say as in a war movie or an epic) to involve so many characters. And although all of the actors included in the film made it really funny, it was just like character overload or something. Another criticism that I have is how some of the jokes were handled. Sometimes, even when a line or scene was really funny, the actors went on for just a few too many beats, making it almost drag on for a few minutes. Martin Lawrence is a very physical actor and is able to say a lot without saying a word, but many times, when he'd be in the middle of a joke or punchline, he'd carry the verbal part of the joke on for too long.

An example of this tendency is when at the very end of the movie, lawrence dresses up like a lawyer for devito's character and has huge wig on. The bit Lawrence and Devito do together is funny, but Lawrence carries the joke on for just a little too long, making it annoying instead of funny. Of course, this was not the case throughout the entire movie, but it happened more than once and enough so that I noticed it. If you're looking for a fun comedy with people who have good chemistry together (Lawrence and Devito do) then this film will be good for a laugh. It's a fun summertime, slapstick comedy with a few mistakes that don't doom it completely.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs mgm 2001
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