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"What's the Worst That Could Happen?"

Directed by Sam Weisman.
Written by Matthew Chapman.  Based on the book by Donald E. Westlake.
Starring Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  6/3/01


I'll tell you what the worst thing that can happen is--you could pay $8 and see this flaming piece-of-shit film.

Gordon "The Professional" Stokes and I dropped by my favorite multiplex this afternoon to see this new Martin Lawrence film, and my-oh-my, I made a mistake.  Granted, much like paying $3 for bottled water or ordering Diet Coke with my phillysteaks, I have made countless mistakes in the past...but, this was an egregious error, if ever I have made one.


You know, to be honest, I'm not sure what it was, exactly.  There were talented performers in place:  besides Lawrence, there was Danny Devito, there was Bernie Mac (most recently in "The Original Kings of Comedy"), there was John Leguizamo.  Even the supporting actors--William Fichtner, Nora Dunn, Glenne Headly--were of name value.  The plot was kind of cool—a con man (Lawrence) is robbing a Boston tycoon (Devito) and gets caught in the act by said tycoon.  Tycoon robs the robber at gunpoint and takes the thief's lucky ring...and the robber robs the tycoon of his various riches for the rest of the film, trying in vain to get his lucky ring back.

But, this comedy--save for Fichtner's reasonably amusing gay cop, sporting white suits and snakeskin shoes--is almost totally devoid of laughs.  In fact, all of the scenes that come close WOULD have been funny...except the producers used them in the trailer!  So, Devito's Court TV tirade would have been pretty funny, if I hadn't already known it was coming.  Or Lawrence & Leguizamo, trying not to trigger laserline alarms.  Or Bernie Mac offering to drive to the next big heist, searching for his car keys.  This seems to always happen, where producers realized they have a movie dog on their hands and, in a desperate attempt to sell tickets, rope us in with the only laughs from the film.

And, the romantic angle between the con man and a beautiful grad student is so hammy, so William Shatner that it comes off as funny in the wrong way.  Lawrence beds the woman in the movie's third scene and then exclaims how much he is in love with her, which you don't buy for three seconds.  Overacting continues in the lobby, as Headly (playing Devito's personal assistant, who he is naturally banging on the side) and Devito get into a huge argument over playing games with this stupid ring.  Even the token computer geek in this movie gets into the act late in the film, yelling all of his lines even though he sits not two feet from Lawrence's character during his scenes.  Ugh.

As with all Hard Vice films, avoid this film at all costs or no costs...EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!!

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09