(US); 1998; Rated R; 80 Minutes
Christian Slater: Robert Boyo
Cameron Diaz: Laura Garrety
Daniel Stern: Adam Berkow
Jeanne Tripplehorn: Lois Berkow
Jon Favreau: Kyle Fisher
Jeremy Piven: Michael Berkow
Produced by Cindy
Cowan, Ted Field, Laura Greenlee, Michael A. Helfant, Joanna
Johnson, Scott Kroopf, Diane Nabatoff, Michael Schiffer
and Christian Slater; Directed and screenwritten by
by DAVID KEYES
wonder why black comedy is so popular. There has to be some
sort of problem with Hollywood and its audiences in order
to explain the overwhelming amount of dark humor that has
emerged in theaters recently. Looking back on eleven months
of trash talk, rude humor and touchy subject matter, what
can be said except, "how is this happening? Why do we have
so much of it?" Even critics like Siskel and Ebert seem
to be getting sick of the ideas of these types of movies,
and the genre has taken a turn for even more bizarre, crude
material ever since "Sour Grapes" made fun of cancer and
castration earlier this year.
the most part, we've managed to at least tolerate them.
We laughed at a few of the movies, reviled others, and then
moved on. They come and go in our lives like the average
movie in theaters, so what's the big deal? Well, when movies
get as reprehensible as "Very Bad Things," it's time to
take the gloves off. Here is a movie so jaw-droppingly repugnant,
so morally disgusting and horrid that I'd easily compare
it to the rape scenes of "I Spit On Your Grave." It is horrible
beyond comprehension--one of those movies where you'd like
to pause a few of the scenes so you can do a head count
of all the actors who will likely have ill-fated careers
after this fiasco. Never before has comedy been pushed in
such a crude, unnecessary direction; never before have we
been exposed to such depressing and unfunny comedy in our
lives; never before have we felt as bad at one of those
previous movies as we have with this one. People who will
be forced to see it will likely discontinue going to the
worse, big stars like Christian Slater, Daniel Stern and
Cameron Diaz are in it. Isn't it a little ironic how that
the worst movies are packed with big-name casts? Do actors
have no moral decency when it comes to career moves? The
problems with "Very Bad Things" are so numerous that you
ponder these questions over and over again in your mind.
Long after the movie has ended, you still feel the shame
of paying to see it, and of supporting the film's theatrical
turnout. Here is the worst type of bad movie; the type where
it tries to make unfunny, taboo subjects look humorous or
amusing. It is perhaps the crowned king of inept black comedy,
which is a hefty title, even for a genre as often deteriorating
as this one.
story itself is also a bad idea (keep in mind, now, that
this is classified as 'comedy'). It's about a group of friends
who go to Las Vegas and have an all-out big bachelor party
with a prostitute hired to provide the night's entertainment.
The low-plunging neckline, the dinky undergarments, the
gyrating pelvis--she's got them all, and a character by
the name of Michael (Jeremy Piven) takes advantage of those
things by getting almost nude himself and engaging in sex
with her. The way we see it, however, it isn't normal intercourse;
it's more like a rough, animal-like sexual encounter where
the man thinks he's the master and there's the notion that
the woman should just sit there and let him do whatever
the heck he wants to. Before you know it, the prostitute
drops dead on sight, and pretty soon, all the guys realize
they are in some hot water.
to cover up their murder, they take all the risks they can.
Another murder later (they kill a hotel security guard),
they wind up in the desert, where they cut their victims'
bodies up and bury them. They then return home, only to
have their vow of secrecy in regards to their crime be instantly
exposed to their spouses and girlfriends. Along the lines
of this formula's plot twists and resolutions, there are
rude Jewish jokes, impulses of homicide being humorous,
you think any of this sounds funny, then you're in worse
shape than Washington, D.C.. Movies that try to make these
'taboo' subjects look funny aren't even worth a matinee
ticket price, much less a worthy box office turnout. It's
like watching one of those "Friends don't let friends drive
drunk" television campaigns where they show old home video
shots of people who have been killed by drunk drivers. Like
those moments, they are depressing and simply unfunny; the
only difference is that those TV ads try to make a difference
in life. The only thing a movie like "Very Bad Things" tries
to do is make a difference in breaking the record for the
all-time high moral repugnance. And it succeeds; director
and screenwriter Peter Berg must be a confused human being
who has lost all touch with reality. A movie like this just
goes to show that some sort of rebel alien species couldn't
be more deteriorating to the human beings of cinema even
if they made a film about the makers of "Very Bad Things."
It deserves its title respectively; it will leave you feeling
depressed and wrought with anxiety.
recently got into an argument with one of my debaters, Dustin
Rose, about whether society has become too overwhelmed with
these types of movies. He claimed that movie-goers were
becoming too obsessed with these comedies. I didn't agree
with him. Now, after all the thinking and pondering of his
beliefs, I now realize that he was right. "Very Bad Things"
is evidence of that notion. When I walk out of a picture,
I like signaling to my friends at the theater of whether
the film is good or bad: the thumbs up or thumbs down. The
day I left "Very Bad Things" was the day I lost some of
my friends. Heck, wouldn't you lose them too if you gave
them the bird?
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.