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Very Bad Perhaps. Very Good Yes. But definitely nothing in the middle. Very
Bad Things will antagonise most. It's certainly not the comedy it's touted
to be. It's uncomfortable and it's fascinating.
Very Bad Things is a cautionary tale about the war of the sexes, the battle of consumerism. It's about collateral damage: Friendly fire is liable to take out just about anyone in the suburbs if a wedding is at stake! It's about people who have lost heart, who have forgotten what's really important.
Five male friends are off to Las Vegas for a stag party. The bride stays home to continue the wedding preparations; to plan her day of days. Accidentally the boys kill a prostitute in their hotel room and decide to hush it up, bury her in the desert to avoid the unpleasantness of an investigation. And then the body count mounts.
The boys, and later, just as viciously the bride, take the pragmatic road. That same "let's get on with business, people don't matter" sort of morality that will allow a President to lie to Congress and get away with it, cricket champions to cheat and then be made Captain, politicians to sacrifice their citizens for the sake of overseas companies, and murder to be acceptable as long as no one finds out about it. It's not how you play the game, but you must win.
The boys are pretty average types really except for Robert Boyd (Christian Slater, who was let out of prison to do the shoot!!!). Robert Boyd is a Men's Support Group graduate. He's into self fulfilment and asserting himself but is also the catalyst that tips these average men into horror. The other dominant personality is the bride Laura played by Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary). Her single mindedness is astounding. (Cameron Diaz is an astounding actress! Watch her eyes.)
But what is " average" in these suburbs. And what about the pressures that go with paying the mortgage and keeping the wife happy? Very Bad Things finishes with a slow overhead shot of the suburb that has become hell for this lot. The tones are dirty grey. The mood is bleak and hopeless. The residents have sold their souls for a white minivan and a posh wedding. The pressures of keeping up with the Jones have had casualties.
There are continual references to being 'a loser' in the film. Even Kyle's Dad in the Toast To The Groom at the wedding refers vividly to his son's dismal failure as a school football player. The men are liable to crack.
Very Bad Things is about the pressure cooker male bread winners are living in. The fear of failure is lurking menacingly near by. The men in the film appear to be doing reasonably well from a fiscal point of view but when the pressure rises, the girl in the hotel room dies, horrible things happen with Boyd egging them on.
The editing is ferocious, the characters are vivid and the mood is very wry indeed. Don't expect to laugh much but hell, paying the mortgage isn't much fun either.
Men have been reacting to the mess they are in in the 90's but I would say that writer/director Peter Berg doesn't think much of Men's self help groups. Slater's Robert Boyd has twisted self assertiveness to his own ends. These suburbanites commit horrendous crimes, but still, we should all consider what the men in Very Bad Things are up against.
The phrase "you do love me don't you" from the women in their lives has never sounded more manipulative.
Depressing? Maybe. Disturbing? Certainly. Tasteless? My God, yes. Brilliant? Without a doubt. If one sets aside one's prudish moral beefs with this film, there is no disputing the fact that this motion picture takes total advantage of its medium. The story is well-constructed, the direction is solid, and the performances are impeccable (they finally found a use for Daniel Stern!). And, sure, it's got some graphic violence, and a pinch of gratuitous sex, but in the end, it does have a moral. I'm sorry, but this is easily one of the best films of the 1990's, and I'll personally spit on anyone who says otherwise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
People who say this movie sucked missed the point. Scratch that. People
say this movie sucked, don't have any sense of humour. Yes, it's a dark
comedy. Yes, it makes you wanna kill yourself at the end of it, but does
that make it bad??? Requiem for a Dream makes you feel like crap at the
of it but does that mean it sucks?? I loved Requiem for the fact of it's
dark, macabre ending. That it leaves you with a dire sense of desperation
the end, as does this movie, only in a more "comedic" way.
Other reviews say it sucked cause everyone died?!?! What the??? Why does that suck?? 1st off, not everyone dies. Some live to WISH they died, but everyone dies in, lets say, Reservoir dogs and that movie is BRILLIANT!!
I think what most people's problem with this movie was that it made them uncomfortable. If you dislike movies that make you stir in your seat, not cause it blows, but because the content is subversive, then stay away. If you like dark comedies, with an all-star ensemble and tense, gruesome yet strangely funny scenes, then watch this. You will not be let down.
The only comment I will say is the yelling and screaming scenes got to be a bit much at times, but it's excusable considering what's happening to these people, as the movie plays it totally straight faced.
8.5 out of 10
A couple of days before his wedding with Laura Garrety (Cameron Diaz),
Kyle Fisher (Jon Favreau) travels to Las Vegas for a bachelor party
with his friends Charles Moore (Leland Orser), Robert Boyd (Christian
Slater), Michael Berkow (Jeremy Piven) and his brother Adam Berkow
(Daniel Stern) in his minivan. They go to an apartment in the hotel and
get crazy drinking booze and using cocaine. When the stripper Tina
(Carla Scott, a.k.a. Kobe Tai) comes to their room, she teases the
friends and Michael goes with her to the bathroom to have sex. The
prostitute hits the hanger for towel with her nape and she dies. The
group panics, but Boyd convinces his friends to bury the woman in the
desert. However one security guard comes to the room because of the
noise and he glances at the dead body. He wants to call the police and
Boyd stabs him to death. Then they clean the room and bury the bodies
in the desert.
They return home and Adam freaks out with the situation, causing an accident with his wife Lois Berkow (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and children. Meanwhile Laura organizes the wedding party and during the rehearsal, Michael and Adam have a serious argument and Michael decides to hit the minivan of his brother. Adam tries to protect his minivan and is accidentally murdered by his brother. Soon Lois finds a note written by Adam and presses the group to know what happened in Vegas. What will happen to them?
"Very Bad Things" is one of the darkest comedies ever. The storyline of a group of friends that accidentally kills a woman is not original and has been used many times (for example, the 1997 low-budget "Stag"). However, "Very Bad Things" by Peter Berg has improved the story and is little gem of black humor. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Uma Loucura de Casamento" ("A Crazzy Wedding")
Yes, to quote "Boy Meets World". But those were the only words I
thought described this movie perfectly, don't you think? Five friends
take their about-to-be-married friend on a bachelor trip to Vegas. All
is going well, they're gambling, have a fancy hotel room, doing drugs,
drinking, and hire a prostitute/stripper. When one of the friends
decides to have a little fun with her in the bathroom, he accidentally
kills her on a towel hook, they have two choices: call the police with
a chance that they'll get off of not only killing her but hiring a
prostitute, or they could just bury her in the dessert. You know the
choice 5 men would make, and of course it all goes down hill from here.
I think I watched this movie at a perfect timing. I really enjoyed it because it was funny in a very dark way. I know it's kind of sick, but I did laugh at some of the darkest scenes and really got into it. My best friend, she's about to be married, and she reminds me a lot of Cameron's character. She wants her wedding day to be so perfect that she'll do ANYTHING to make sure of it. Well, not murder, but you get my drift. :D It's a dark comedy, there's no doubt. But I would highly recommend this because it is a good movie for laughs. Just let go and have a little fun and repeat: it's just a movie, it's just a movie, etc.
I saw this film not knowing what to expect, except that it was labeled as
dark comedy. When I got sucked in, I can tell you there was NOTHING about
this movie that even made me smile. I took it seriously (what many posters
here say you shouldn't do) and found a profoundly disturbing movie. But if
you can stand the shock, you'll like it as much as I did.
Now it's, as others have said, a movie that's hard to rate. While I was watching it, would have given this movie a 1 because of the state of shock I was in. If you look at the rating results, you'll see that many people did just that. But then, when I realized how deeply I had been marked, I gave this movie an 8.
I guess I'll probably watch it again some other time, and I'll try to keep some distance to see the "comedy" part, but as it is now, I think it's the kind of film that you won't just see and forget.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CAUTION! SPOILERS FOLLOW! This has to be one of the toughest movies I have ever had to rate. It's a difficult film to like but it also has some very good performances and is competently, if unexceptionally, directed. Some of the behavior of the characters is hard to buy. Agreeing to coverup the strippers death is one thing, but the outright murder of the security guard is one other thing. I was at least satisfied the film examined some of the characters' subsequent breakdowns over guilt and fear of getting caught. I also think the final joke of Cameron Diaz being stuck taking care of a legless husband and his brain-damaged friend would have paid off better if Diaz's character had been portrayed more emphatically as a shrew instead of just a young woman normally obsessed over her wedding plans. In short, the film is watchable, although not for weak stomachs.
I, like many of the other commenters here, decided to watch this movie because of the cast and the fact that it sounded like an entertaining topic for a film. I went into watching it with some anticipation as I am a great fan of Jon Favreau and Jeremy Piven, not to mention the fact that Cameron Diaz is nice to look at. The film sets its tone early on and warns you that all of these characters love confrontation and that the heart of the movie is going to be arguing between the leads. Once the film gets going at the bachelor party and it is made evident at just how over-the-top the characters are going with their drugs, alcohol and whatever else they decide might be fun, I found myself almost not wanting to watch what would happen next. It was that unpleasant. I'm not talking about the amount of blood and gore, but the level of emotion that each of the characters was working on. I can see that this movie is attempting to be a dark comedy, but it just becomes far too dark to save itself for a few good laughs. The amount of screaming and whining I had to endure throughout was nothing short of aggravating and I found myself not really caring what happened to the characters... be it good or bad. This is where I had a problem with the film. I just didn't care about the characters. I didn't find myself wanting to see them get punished for what they'd done, nor did I want there to be a happy ending for those of them who were truly guilt-ridden. There was only so much shouting and bickering that I could take, before I was left wanting the movie to end before I found out what happened. I mean the nastiness of each of them wasn't even entertaining. Despite the fact that I found the film truly forgettable, which is strange considering the amount of shock-value the film held, I did think that the performances were all solid and did nothing to damage the already doomed story. At the end of the day, the film was just too confused with what it wanted to be, leaving me feeling much the same way in my interpretation of it.
In these days of oppressive political correctness (the most loathsome ideal ever to spew from the minds and mouths of those who would attempt to force their value system upon the world,) I am almost afraid to admit that I enjoyed this movie. I really did. I found it to be continuously, outrageously funny. The problem with the world today is that we are afraid to express our more primal instincts. We see something that appeals on a pure visceral level and we are conditioned to respond with shock and horror. Many, many reviewers have said that this movie made them physically ill. Well, I'm sorry to say, but if a piece of fictional work can create such a drastic emotional response, then you need more help than the characters in this film. At least Christian Slater's character has a pragmatic approach to extreme situations. It may not agree with the value system that you have been brainwashed into accepting as "normal," but it sure is effective. In fact, the downfall of all the characters in this film is not some vague idea that evil begets evil or of karmatic retribution. It is that the rest of the people involved in this situation are unable to overcome their own societical brainwashing and act in the same sensible manner as Boyd. As one branded as abnormal by those who conform to the norms of American life, I give this film 10/10.
I am utterly surprised at the first few comments that I glanced at already. Either people just didn't get it or they lack my standards for a movie. The art of Very Bad Things, at least in my opinion, is that it is the first movie in a long, long time to surprise me every 10 minutes. NOBODY can tell me that they knew what was going to happen. I enjoyed this film thoroughly and gave it a 10+. Superb writing, superb acting***, and superb directing. Cheers.
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