The hype declared that “Nothing to Lose” is as good as comedy classic “48 Hours.” There’s only one flaw in that reasoning: “48 Hours” was funny.
These days, there are two kinds of successful comedies. One is the wild, wacky style of Jim Carrey, and the other is plot-driven, featuring well-written jokes along the way, such as “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
“Nothing to Lose” falls hopelessly short of both styles.
That’s surprising for a film starring actors such as Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence. Robbins has proved to be amazingly versatile, pulling off characters in both “The Shawshank Redemption” and “I.Q.” Lawrence is a fabulous comedian, and his previous movies haven’t been disappointing.
Why did “Nothing to Lose” fail so miserably? It sports one of the worst scripts I have ever seen. Lawrence talks non-stop, and the extent of Robbins’ involvement often is limited to disapproving glances.
The film opens with Nick (Robbins) and his wife (Kelly Preston) professing their love for each other. The first 10 minutes of the film detail how perfect Nick’s life is, and how much he and his wife love each other.
So, when he gets home early to find her in bed with his boss, he is destroyed. For whatever reason, he drives off. While stopped at a traffic light in a bad neighborhood, though, it gets worse as T. (Lawrence) hops in his car to rob him.
Instead of giving in, however, Nick starts driving like a madman until T. agrees to forget the robbery if Nick will let him go. No deal.
Then, in a startling (and silly) twist, they agree to rob Nick’s boss, who apparently keeps several hundred thousand dollars in a wall safe.
By this point, the rest of the film is painfully predictable, and getting duller.
The best 25 minutes of this film would have made a failed television pilot.
There’s not much to say about the performances; Robbins and Lawrence didn’t do anything badly except pick the screenplay. Preston does her usual good turn as an all-too-perfect wife gone wrong, and Irma P. Hall is outstanding in her bit as T.’s mother.
In this summer’s arena of wall-to-wall suspense-thrillers, there aren’t a lot of comedic alternatives, but even Jackie Chan’s latest offering, “Operation Condor” is much funnier than “Nothing to Lose.”
As the slogan says, the characters in this film may have had “everything to gain, and nothing to lose,” but the same could be said for the movie.
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