Nothing to Lose

Memphis Flyer

DIRECTED BY: Steve Oedekerk

REVIEWED: 08-04-97

NOTHING TO LOSE IS AN appropriately titled picture for those looking for a few laughs this summer movie season. Quality comedies have been so sorely missing from movie screens this year that when a vehicle that holds even the slimmest possibility of eliciting a chuckle comes along, you've got to go for it. And in the case of this film, audiences are much more likely to come away winners than losers.

Nothing To Lose features Tim Robbins as Nick Beam, an L.A. ad executive who has it all -- a beautiful, loving wife; a fulfilling job; and a brand-new sport-utility vehicle. All that seemingly goes to pot, however, when Beam comes home early one afternoon and apparently finds his wife (Kelly Preston) having an affair with his boss (Michael McKean, playing off the overbearing-boss riff he originated on HBO's Dream On).

Taking no action and despondent over his discovery, Beam drives the streets of L.A. in a near-catatonic state until he is shocked out of it by would-be hold-up man T. Paul (Martin Lawrence). Wanting to strike back at somebody, anybody, Beam turns the tables on his assailant and takes him hostage. Thus begins a beautiful (if unlikely) friendship that is consummated when the two dream up a plan for Beam to get even with his boss by robbing his office safe and thus ruining him financially.

Along the way there is a menacing case of mistaken identity involving another interracial crime duo (John McGinley and Giancarlo Esposito), and Beam and T. Paul maybe learn something about perspective and being a man or something. But for the most part, this is movie lite; it just doesn't sit with you very long after you leave the theatre.

Writer/director Steve Oedekerk -- who also delivers a knockout-funny cameo in his own film as a night watchman -- is working on a more sophisticated level than on his previous film, Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls -- but not much. Broad, outlandish, physical comedy (a la Jim Carrey) is still the order of the day, with Lawrence and, surprisingly, Robbins making the most out of their slim roles. It's a credit to both of their abilities that this film would be a much lesser work without them. The true comedy in Nothing To Lose is not in the writing but in the interpretation.

But no matter. Nobody is going to write a doctoral thesis on this film, but if they're lucky they might pass a couple of pleasant hours in an air-conditioned theatre, laughing hysterically.

--Hadley Hury

Full Length Reviews
Nothing to Lose
Nothing to Lose
Nothing to Lose
Nothing to Lose

Capsule Reviews
Nothing to Lose
Nothing to Lose

Other Films by Steve Oedekerk
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Film Vault Suggested Links
Jawbreaker
A Mystery
The Great White Hype

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