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Very Bad Things (1998)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Genres:
Black Comedy, Comedy
Director:
Peter Berg Peter Berg
Starring:
Jon Favreau Jon Favreau
Leland Orser Leland Orser
Cameron Diaz Cameron Diaz
Christian Slater Christian Slater
Rob Brownstein Rob Brownstein

6.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 17, 2007
Even reviewing this film leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Every now and again, a film so wretched and so pointless will come along that it makes you question the art form you profess to love so deeply. In 1998, "Very Bad Things" was that picture. To understand all the reasons why this film is awful, you have to watch. I hope you will take my word for it. If not, rent it and see for yourself, but only so you can see what to avoid in the future. This is one of the worst films ever made.

The premise -- a group of friends head to Las Vegas to celebrate the wedding of one of them. The bachelor's party gets out of hand when a prostitute arrives and turns up dead. The friends then have to get rid of the body and try to cover up the entire incident -- slapstick comedy and tension ensues. Then, the friends start turning on one another as some don't want to keep it a secret, while others will do anything to make sure it stays one.

If you read reviews on IMDB, some users try to examine the deep rooted psychological and philosophical meaning behind the film. Bull shit. This film has no meaning. It has no purpose. It's a film about terrible people doing terrible things and having no remorse about them. It's an ugly, dirty and unflattering film that relies on over-the-top performances from its actors and only hopes that people can watch long enough to understand what in the hell is going on. "Very Bad Things" basically takes a dog turd and rubs it all over the audience from start to finish and never really relents. It knows how disgusting it is, but can't really do anything about it.

What's unfortunate is the cast is impressive: Jon Favreau, Leland Orser, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn. These actors have so little with which to work, it's insane. Daniel Stern seems to have the most fun with his role, and it seems to be the highlight of the film, but it's difficult to tell. Jeremy Piven is atrocious, Jon Favreau is wasted and Cameron Diaz looks like she wants out as soon as possible. And considering this film is directed by the usually talent-free director Peter Berg, you can understand why. He has little talent for directing and should stick with acting...occasionally...when no one else wants the role.

There are probably those out there who loves this film, who think it's a work of comedic genius. You are wrong. Berg is ripping off Tarantino and "The Usual Suspects" and John Waters and every other trashy, disgusting, overly stylized brand of filmmaking he can find. The difference -- they did it better than he can. "Very Bad Things" is one of those films where the title says it all. It's a film that doesn't just stink -- it downright sucks. It's one of the worst films I've ever had the displeasure of sitting through. Very...bad...film.

0/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 08/17/2007, 10:44 AM
Are you serious? I LOVE this movie. I picked it up in a bargain bin a few years back, and it was a great find. I just love how ruthless everyone is, and people just drop out of the movie like flies. 9/10
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 08/17/2007, 11:11 AM
Serious as a heart attack. The film is horrible. The humor is so negative and nasty and never really works. They should have stuck with a genre instead of jumping around, back and forth, from comedy to drama, from drama to comedy. Most of the characters, if not all, are horribly written, the acting is over the top and not believable, and the way in which they solve their problems is completely ridiculous and not affecting at all. There is no one to root for in this film, and no one to foster any kind of emotional connection. The movie sucks.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 08/17/2007, 11:38 AM
Of course the acting is over the top, it's a comedy. Like when Cameron Diaz kills Slater? That's ridiculous. And it's supposed to be.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 08/17/2007, 11:51 AM
So, all acting in comedies is over the top? Hmmmmm. I would beg to differ there. In fact, the acting in most comedies is NOT over the top. But, that's the problem. It's not a comedy. It's a comedy...and a drama...and a Tarantino wannabe. It doesn't know what it wants to be. Nothing that Cameron Diaz' character does in that film EVER even remotely leads up to what she does to Slater. Nothing. It comes out of nowhere. Why? Beats me. Because they wanted more violence and more needless ridiculousness.
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 08/17/2007, 12:55 PM
Who cares if they needed more violence and ridiculousness? It's a movie. It doesn't have to make sense, or follow some guidelines for the typical drama or comedy. And I don't see the Tarantino reference. Tarantino himself is kind of a ripoff from exploitation and revenge movies, but nobody calls him on it. So someone else makes a picture that's violent and funny, and suddenly they're a Tarantino wannabe? Fuck that. He's not the only person to do what he's done. He's just the most highly praised.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 08/17/2007, 03:25 PM
I am sorry, but as a movie goer, I want my movies to have even the slightest amount of credibility. It's fiction -- I get that. But when a director thinks the audience a bunch of idiots, I cannot tolerate that. And Tarantino borrows from a lot of areas, but he is original. You don't watch a Tarantino film and think throughout the whole thing how muche stole from everyone else. He tales different ideas and formulas and tones and makes them his own. And there's a reason he's the most praised and Peter Berg directs "The Kingdom". "Very Bad Things" has Tarantino written all over it, because it was released during a time when EVERYONE was trying to re-capture that whole "Pulp Fiction" feel. This film is a rip-off, and more than that -- just really poorly made.
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added 08/17/2007, 03:37 PM
And, furthermore -- did you even listen to the dialogue in this film? Were you in another room during some of this shit -- trying to sound all cool and retro and be the new "Pulp Fiction" meets "Swingers"? There's a big difference between dialogue that is cool, and dialogue that wants to sound cool. Christian Slater was a fucking mess here -- his Jack Nicholson was working in overdrive, and unfortunately for him, he got the worst of the script. Jeremy Piven does the same thing he always does, but poorly written. Cameron Diaz' character was horribly underwritten and given nothing to do, except break all pre-conceived notions of her character and commit murder. The moral of the film: some people deserve to die and murder is easily fixable. Even the worst of films have some redeeming qualities and are not all ugly and grime. This film has nothing.
Vash #8: Vash - added 08/17/2007, 09:59 PM
dude, peter berg is awesome. friday night lights was great, and the kingdom was surprisingly solid. im assuming you haven't seen either of those or are just basing that comment off the rundown.
grain of sand #9: grain of sand - added 08/19/2007, 01:33 PM
eh, i liked this movie, i saw it when i was younger with my parents and they hated it.. guess i just have a soft spot for some shit hooker killing movies ha :)
bluemeanie #10: bluemeanie - added 08/19/2007, 02:37 PM
I have seen EVERY film Peter Berg has directed, and with the exception of "Friday Night Lights", they've been horrible. And when did you see "The Kingdom", considering it has yet to be either seen or pre-screened, and the release date has been pushed back and pushed back to dump month, September. And I love movies with dead hookers, i.e. "Dirty Work" -- "That's the Saigon whore that bit my nose off!"
Tristan #11: Tristan - added 08/19/2007, 09:55 PM
Yeah, the Kingdom isn't out for like, a month or so. And Dirty Work was fantastic. That's because Bob Saget directed it. "Sometimes you have to show the hen who the rooster is. DON'T TALK BACK TO ME IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS!"
Aaaah, so many memories.
Vash #12: Vash - added 08/20/2007, 02:12 AM
no dude, we got screenings here a week back. a week or two. my media editor and i went, she's reviewing it, ill even post the review when its up man. but yeah, i just don't think a 2:1 ratio is basis enough to say he's a talentless director. in any case, good call on dirty work. now that is a movie people need to see.
Vash #13: Vash - added 08/20/2007, 02:26 AM
also, there's a review up here too... http://www.chud.com/index.php?type=reviews&id=1142 3 . just saying, it was screened. i dunno what's up with all the bumped release dates, though. it really is a solid flick. it's not mindblowing or anything, i was just thoroughly entertained. for the most part. i dont really like jennifer garner but meh.
bluemeanie #14: bluemeanie - added 08/20/2007, 01:11 PM
I just have low hopes because: (01) I don't like Jamie Foxx; (02) Jason Bateman in an action film will be a tough sell for me; and (03) I typically don't enjoy Peter Berg films. Plus, I always get weary when a film shuffles release dates into dump month. We'll see. It's a $1.00 theatre trip in the making. And now for more "Dirty Work" -- "Note to self: Making love to blow up doll is not as good as advertised".
Vash #15: Vash - added 08/20/2007, 01:15 PM
bateman is GREAT. he was my favourite part of the movie. the whole thing revolves around them getting him back, and he's great. i thought he was gonna be like comic relief, which he is sort of in the beginning, but he's great. "yeah, we kind of lied on our resumes. we don't really know anything about construction." "when is lunch?" "you're fired."
Tristan #16: Tristan - added 10/10/2007, 12:39 AM
Arrested Development!
*kisses*
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