Parents' Guide to

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Uncomfortably distasteful at times.

Movie PG-13 2001 94 minutes
What's the Worst That Could Happen? Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

Distasteful

Women does it on the first day she meets a guy... thought it would be more comedy than romanticly annoying... Danny devito says GD...

This title has:

Too much sex
age 16+

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

This movie has a terrific cast and some very funny moments, but overall slackness and underlying cynicism make it uncomfortably distasteful. The underlying premise is that the only difference between the businessman, the politician, the lawyer, and the man who steals is that at least the professional thief is honest about what he does. Donald Westlake, the author of the book that inspired this movie, made that premise wickedly delicious. But screenwriter and director Sam Weisman removed the satiric twists to make it into a star vehicle for Lawrence and the result lacks any sense of dramatic build-up. Instead of two wily adversaries, it is so one-sided in favor of Lawrence's character that any narrative arc evaporates. It's just a string of skits.

Some of the skits are pretty funny, but there is something unsettling about the underlying assumptions here, especially the smug self-righteousness of the thieves. Ask us to believe that Kevin is a crook and the hero of the movie, and we can accept it. But it is a little harder to accept that his girlfriend is an educated person who is happy to be a waitress and wait up nights for Kevin to come home from a hard night of thievery. The mincing gay detective and the evil businessman who uses Yiddish (among others) are tired stereotypes. And too much simply does not make sense.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: June 1, 2001
  • On DVD or streaming: January 1, 2002
  • Cast: Danny DeVito, John Leguizamo, Martin Lawrence
  • Director: Sam Weisman
  • Inclusion Information: Latinx actors, Black actors
  • Studio: MGM/UA
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 94 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: language and sexual content
  • Last updated: May 24, 2023

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