What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001)



Critic Consensus: Talented cast is squandered by an uninvolving script filled with unfunny gags.

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Movie Info

The novel of the same name by crime author Donald E. Westlake becomes this MGM comedy starring Martin Lawrence as Kevin Caffery, a thief who breaks into the supposedly unoccupied beachfront mansion of billionaire Max Fairbanks (Danny De Vito). Max unexpectedly catches the burglar red-handed and summons the police, but before the criminal can be carted off, Max impulsively claims that Kevin's lucky ring is his own. Enraged, Kevin vows revenge on the tycoon, and so begins a game of one-upmanship … More

Rating: PG-13 (for language and sexual content)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Matthew Chapman, Donald E. Westlake
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 1, 2002
Box Office: $31.1M


as Kevin Caffrey

as Max Fairbanks

as Gloria

as Amber Belhaven

as Uncle Jack

as Earl Radburn

as Lutetia Fairbanks

as Walter Greenbaum

as Det. Alex Tardio

as Ann Marie

as Tracey Kimberley

as Windham

as Shelly Nix

as Auctioneer

as Large Man at Auction

as Auction Bidder

as Auction Bidder

as Bartender

as Officer Keeble

as Officer Overkraut

as Older Tennis Player

as Gentleman at Club

as Banquet Host

as Judge Callahan

as Windham Boy

as Windham Boy

as Windham Boy

as Washington Real Esta...

as Washington Condo Doo...

as Pepper Spray Lady

as Washington Cop

as Washington Cop

as Junior Detective

as Jerry

as Senator Richards

as Senator Schutt

as Sign Language Interp...

as Eagle One

as Cop at Auction

as Fire Captain

as Reporter

as Reporter
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for What's the Worst That Could Happen?

All Critics (110) | Top Critics (35)

It's worse than the title suggests.

June 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

A pinpoint study in what not to do with an adaptation, as well as in why altering a well-known fictional character to suit a poorly cast star is almost always a bad idea.

Full Review… | June 11, 2001
Top Critic

I'd rather watch a forgotten houseplant dehydrate and die.

Full Review… | June 6, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

This is the kind of do-nothing movie you eventually quit watching on an airplane. Unfortunately, theaters don't supply SkyMall catalogues to take up the slack.

Full Review… | June 4, 2001
Top Critic

Uncomfortably distasteful at times.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

Well...you could waste a few hours of your life. Does that answer the question?

Full Review… | September 23, 2006

Audience Reviews for What's the Worst That Could Happen?


Incredibly dumb, What's the Worst That Could Happen? is complete and utter garbage. Danny DeVito and Martin Lawrence star is a crooked businessman and a petty criminal who get into a no-holds-barred grudge match over a lucky ring. The performances are just awful and the plot makes no sense. Most of the jokes fall flat and the characters aren't that likable. What's the Worst That Could Happen? is a horrible film in which nothing works.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

The story focuses on a cat and mouse game between a clever thief Kevin (Martin Lawrence), and a crooked business tycoon Max Fairbanks (Danny DeVito), who turn each other's lives upside down after the former is caught burglarizing the Max's house and instead he gets robbed of his most prized possession: his girlfriend's ring. Now, he will stop at nothing to get the ring that was stolen from him. To help him is the hilarious John Leguizamo and joining them is Bernie Mac as Kevin's uncle. William Fichtner is also unforgettable as the police detective who suspects De Vito of committing insurance fraud.

Deb S

Super Reviewer


I actually enjoyed it, although there was too many chacthers, the plot was loose, and it wasn't as funny as you'd expect, but I still liked it, Sort of.

Joseph Eastmond

Super Reviewer

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