Stars: * 1/2
Rating: PG-13 for language, sexual suggestion
Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
From my vantage point, the worst that could happen is missing Game Two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (New Jersey, 2-1) to suffer through a tasteless, lackluster Martin Lawrence vehicle.
Not that I don’t respect Lawrence. He’s got onscreen charisma, an urban je ne sais quoi, if you will. But with material this bland, even Lawrence’s comedic talent can’t overcome a sense of narrative futility. Lawrence is Kevin Caffery, con man and “connoisseur of all things portable”. While casing an upscale auction, Kevin meets and is smitten by a beautiful English rose named Amber (Carmen Ejogo). In love and vowing to change his ways, Kevin stays straight for all of two or three scenes, ultimately succumbing to the lure of an upscale heist of an unoccupied Marblehead, Massachusetts beachfront mansion. But oops. The owner, billionaire tycoon Max Fairbanks (Danny DeVito) is on site, in a compromising position with a certain Miss September. Kevin manages to escape, but not before Fairbanks claims Kevin’s sentimental good-luck ring, a special gift from Amber.
That’s all she wrote, folks. It’s “War of the Roses” redux as the men engage in a contest of egos to seize possession of the lucky ring. Risking public scandal, divorce, insurance fraud, and financial ruin (not to mention the risk of boring the audience to death), this jesting odd couple cross and double-cross their way through poor editing, bad scripting and shoddy direction. Mildly funny moments include sidekick John Leguizamo’s pose as an aristocratic Bavarian auctioneer, and the talented Michael Fichtner’s turn as a peculiarly fey police detective. DeVito is so last decade, a caricature of his former funny self. I recommend seeking options - there’s plenty of hockey action on SportsCenter this weekend.