Nothing to Lose

(1997) *** R
98 min. Buena Vista. Directors: Steve Oedekerk, Mic Rodgers, Manny Perry. Cast: Martin Lawrence, Tim Robbins, John C. McGinley, Giancarlo Esposito, Kelly Preston.
Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence? This unlikely pair fuels as cheerily stupid a buddy comedy as we've had this decade. It's the brainchild of writer-director Steve Oedekirk, who brought us the Ace Ventura films, and the grounding presence of Robbins matched with the loudmouth attitude of bad boy Lawrence balances out to deliver a soundly entertaining comedy. But don't think that Robbins doesn't get to cut loose here. He cements his comic versatility by playing a smart, lovable, goofball executive who becomes unhinged when he sees his wife cheating on him with his boss. The story is silly and manipulative, and some may take offense to the suggestion that this black man really needs the white man to turn his life around for him, but Nothing to Lose plays like a cruise down a deserted highway with the radio blasting. Against the odds, the filmmakers conjure charm and know how to work it.
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