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We've all seen this kind of thing before—black guy and white guy wind up together on a caper, both hating each other, getting into fights, dealing with even worse people than they are ("Fled," the entire "Lethal Weapon" series)—indeed, there's something about "Nothing to Lose" that has the words TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC written all over it. Miraculously, however, this flick manages to transcend that way of thinking every few minutes or so, and the end result is a comedy as enjoyable as it is inconsequential.
Tim Robbins plays Nick Beame, a successful ad exec who comes home early to see his boss in bed with his wife. Robotically driving his car about 15 mph through a rough neighborhood, he is accosted by T. Paul (Martin Lawrence), who shoves a gun in his face and demands his wallet. Beame floors it, and the two end up somewhere in Arizona with no money and a decidedly hare-brained scheme to ruin the evil boss and get T Paul's wayward finances back on track.
Of course, Martin Lawrence's T. Paul is a frustrated family man who just needs a good break (suggesting, cynically, that the only way he can be self-actualized is to become a part of the white corporate world), and the screenplay is full of silliness that will definitely keep it out of the running at Cannes. But it's the little stuff that keeps your psyche coming back for more: a security guard who spends two hours twirling to the radio like Twyla Tharp, an ancient cashier who gives the two protagonsists advice on how to be a scary robber, even Tim Robbins' tacet grimaces that suggest that his presence in this movie is pretty funny in itself. It's a good hour and a half escape.
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