Sam Weisman’s work with What’s The Worst That Could Happen? movie was a comedy film that came just at the right timing. It’s always difficult to put two and two together, but having Danny DeVito and Martin Lawrence on board was perfect. The two actors outdid themselves in a hilarious joyride that even I couldn’t stop laughing after watching it in the movies 11 years ago, and it’s still as funny now. Weisman is already a known director in Hollywood and among his famous works include The Mighty Ducks, George Of The Jungle and the 1996 TV series 7th Heaven, where Jessica Biel got her acting roots from. But this 2001 comedy hit is probably his greatest work yet.
Kevin Caffery played by funny man Martin Lawrence is a professional thief who goes on nocturnal heists with his best buddy and partner in crime Berger (John Leguizamo). But one heist got them busted when the house owner – billionaire Max Fairbanks (Danny DeVito) - caught Kevin off guard robbing his house that’s about to be auctioned as part of the bankruptcy settlement he filed in court. Berger ran off immediately to avoid getting caught by the cops leaving Kevin behind with Max pointing a gun to his face. Unfortunately, the house that they attempted to rob was currently occupied by Max and his mistress, Playboy centerfold model Tracy Kimberly (Sascha Knopf). It would have ended well that night for everyone until Mr. Fairbanks decided to make things personal by robbing Kevin of his lucky ring right in front of the cops. The worst thing is that that ring was a precious gift from Kevin’s new found love Amber Belhaven played by the beautiful Carmen Ejogo, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Kevin was determined to get the ring back not because of Amber but because Max had seriously injured his ego, which is the size of the North American continent if I’m not mistaken. LOL… Max was also determined to keep the ring because he takes pride in taking (I mean robbing) it from the guy that tried to rob his estate. The gloves are off this time as Kevin rounds up his gang to humiliate Fairbanks just as he humiliated him. Their first run in the park cost Max more than $250,000 in valuables plus a Jaguar top down exotic car. It’s a fight between two men with the “Moses versus Ramses” epic proportions and the laughter just gets better and better as the movie progresses. The second time that Kevin hit on Max’s property was when he stole $150,000 worth of cash from his pent house suite, which was supposed to be a donation money for the senators’ foundations. It ended up with Max cursing live on c-span to the senators’ faces while talking to Kevin on his cellphone and his senate inquiry session turned into an indictment trial for misbehavior.
Their final showdown was at Max’s estate, where he lost more than $7 million worth of valuables to the fake auctioneers courtesy of Kevin’s friends Inc. The two ended up in a funny brawl in Max’s speedboat, but after seeing the embedded message on the ring they realized that it was a fake and someone switched it. As the boat was about to sink after hitting a buoy, Max’s personal secretary Gloria Sidell (Glenne Headly), who had an old axe to grind against him for sleeping with her and then dumping her for that Playboy chick, came with Detective Alex Tardio (William Fichtner) to arrest him for insurance fraud. Luckily Max’s wife Lutetia Fairbanks (Nora Dunn) and Amber teamed up to stop this childish quarrel between them and everyone had a happy ending at last.
I must say that pure comedy comes from the genius who created it and not spun as a parody to something that’s already been done. The What’s The Worst That Could Happen? movie is one of those few films that we get less and less from Hollywood these days. Although it didn’t fair well in the box office, it is one of those comedy films that will make you laugh now and lets you think about why you laughed afterwards – in other words it sticks to you. You should watch it when you have the time; it’s a wonderful movie that will keep you laughing from beginning to end.