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Tries to be a comedy but isn't

Author: ComedyFan2010 from Canada
4 December 2014

I remember when I watched this movie as a young teenager when it just came out in 1999, I loved it. Now, watching it again I have trouble to understand what made me love that movie. It just seems "meh", now. Looking at the positive reviews to find the answer I just see a bunch of people gloating over having a sense of humor and not being "easily offended". So well, that must be it. When I was young this movie just seemed outrageous and I loved it because I thought it was daring. Now, I am just too used to dark movies and this one doesn't seem to be too outstanding so the weak parts of the movie are not as easy to overlook.

My main issue is that, it just isn't funny. At the same time it is not a marketing mistake that I often see when a movie is presented as comedy while it is a 100% drama. I can see that they were really going for a dark comedy, but the comedy part is pretty much non-existent. There are a few moments that make one smirk, but other than that I am not sure where is comedy.

The movie is still above the average. Mainly thanks to the great cast with brilliant acting skills. Christian Slater should have gotten an Oscar for this. Was surprised to find out that John Favreau was in it. The guy has changed so much, it is only his voice and way of talking that made me recognize him. Watching them all acting it out was a pleasure. Also, it had many pretty original moments. Too bad it didn't end up being what it could have been.

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Good, but not great...

Author: Bene Cumb from Estonia/Tallinn
26 November 2012

The idea is okay and at least two performances are very good (Christian Slater as Robert Boyd, a vicious real estate agent, and Cameron Diaz as Laura Garrety-Fisher, Kyle's determined fiancée and later wife), but the plot is hectic and uneven; at times nice thrilling moments are replaced by long and nervous reasoning on issues like remorse and moral. However, black humor is in place and the pre-wedding events are more or less realistic; later ones I was not so fond of and the ending were not up to my expectations either. But it is true that a small thing going out of control could trigger serious consecutive incidents where there is no way back... But do not reckon on remaining "totally clean"!

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Yuppies tear themselves apart

Author: msroz from United States
31 August 2012

This is a very unusual, a very well-written, and a very well acted film. The ensemble acting must have been very hard to do, and it's done amazingly well. Film editing is right up there. Photography very good too. Directing had to be good.

The weakest link is the story, and it's not bad. It just gets too far beyond suspension of belief at times to function 100%. It skates a very thin line between reality, the blackest of comedy, and merciless satire. A few scenes do not really "work" and one of them is the burial scene. Some of the plot twists just go too far into implausibility even to function as satire.

I like the thematic material best, despite the story weaknesses. I called these young people yuppies, but there is no doubt another generation name for them. Yuppie is an older term. The point of the movie is their values, their thought processes, their spiritual and emotional resources (really the lack of them and the problems with them). The writing basically lays them bare without mercy. There is little or no sympathy for any of them, none that I can see, and their essential shallowness and emptiness comes to the fore. Their inability to think straight is evident, their devotion to good times, and their shallow pleasures. They know there is something more but it is like they're stunted mentally and can't reach it. The very last scenes show this metaphorically via the fundamental childishness of these adults, and they are mixed in with their children and are themselves children.

The basic theme of the movie is the childishness of these supposed adults. Even the way they talk about how to look at their own children shows a lack of knowledge about how to be a parent. It is as if they have to learn it from a psychology book. Even the swearing is an adoption of language from black people that makes them feel more real and genuine or grownup or tough than they really are. We see them all falling apart, except for the women who seem more focused. And the bride to be is set on marriage, no matter what.

This is fundamentally a very serious movie done in a satirical vein that sometimes doesn't gel, but that doesn't detract from its overall impact. What these people do to each other physically can be taken as what real people are doing figuratively or emotionally.

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So bad it's funny

Author: bluebwings from Canada
10 June 2012

I had watched a preview going in and thought I had a general idea of how things were going to go. I was, for the most part, wrong. I knew the first thing was an accident, I knew a lot more happened based on a shot where there were only x number of people in the vehicle covered in filth. What I did not realize, however, was that most of the events were not accidental. Take the hangover and turn it into a horror film and that is basically what you had.

I'd say the only parts I found enjoyable in the movie were the parts revolving around the bride-to-be. This was not because I too am a bride- to-be. This was instead because she was such a horrendous bridezilla that she was completely removed from the entire situation! Two severely handicapped children just suffered a rather large loss and slam something down in frustration thus throwing off her seating chart and her response is your classic "Why does all the bad stuff keep happening to me?!" Because of that role and the absolute, "I really hope there is no one out there actually like this." factor I did find her part slightly amusing. But the ending, although karmic in pay off, was so over the top and had no real point aside from Karma, that I was laughing not at the ending but at the fact that this was how it was ending. Not a great movie, not a movie I'll be re-watching and certainly nothing in comparison to others movies I've watched over the past few days.

But, perhaps a movie I can jokingly tell the Best Man is his "what-not- to-do" list movie. But then I would have to force him to watch it and that's just cold. Seriously though, if you're going to watch it, go in with low expectations and a large amount of some type of intoxicant!

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A thought provoking movie. No, really.

Author: mf976 from Italy
11 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ah, the nineties! How young and keen we were! I remember when I first watched this film at the cinema, I didn't find it particularly disturbing. Violence in the movies was fun back then (thanks, Quentin). Things began to get arguable when Boyd kills Lois and Michael. But not because he kills them, but because it was unnecessary. And still there was nothing wrong with the survivors. OK, it's unkind not to inform the police of a homicide you know of, but, hey, they got a marriage to do!

That's the point, this is what the entire movie is all about. Will. How willful are you? Boyd says it, "This is the opportunity for a self exploration". Actually dialogues are very revealing, don't be fooled by the comedy, it is all there in front of you. Boyd again – "You love, and you protect what you love". Purpose. Reward. Laura – "27 years, for all of my life I've been focused only on this very day, and nothing is gonna ruin it!". Micheal – "That flash of absolute, perfect, pure energy, that moment, that's what I'm looking for". That's how they are. The end justifies the means. Like some amateur army generals calculating collateral. Boyd (who, being mad, is the only one who speaks the truth) tells you – "It's a war". A war. This is a war film.

The comedy? Well, this is the truly interesting bit. As for a starter, the comedy in this story is of the grotesque kind. And real life IS grotesque. Every day. So when you encounter a grotesque movie you well possibly be in front of a good one. But in the present case comedy has a way more crucial role. It is the great trick the director plays on us.

Far from diminishing the gravity of the matter, comedy multiplies it, makes it flow out of the screen and fall right upon us. Comedy exerts the function of questioning us. It had been a drama, it'd been easy to take sides, the seriousness of the setup would have warned you, then you'd been ready at the turning points of the story, when ethical dilemmas are posed, to take the right stand. But since it's a comedy, you switch into "auto" and settle for a hour and spare of just plain, good fun. And there comes the ambush - bear with me now, because it's a bit puzzling – when the carachters are faced with a moral dilemma, you are asked to deal with it along with them, BUT, in order to do so, you, as a spectator of a comedy, need to solve a prior moral dilemma – "Should I deal with their moral dilemma even if this means to stop having fun? Should I judge their actions and, as I've already guessed they're gonna do the wrong thing, loathe them for the rest of the movie, having no fun at all?" If you watched it (as I did, and did in DVD and on TV too) till the end, then your answer was "no". And, honestly, we had some issues just with the first death, the prostitute, from then on we didn't even care. There was a goal – having fun – and a downside – sympathizing with a bunch of monsters. We accepted collateral.

If you ask me, no, it isn't as bad as burying a dead prostitute in the desert or killing your friends. It's more like having a little taste of how does it feel like to be an amateur army general, decide what to get and what to loose, an experience of self exploration.

I don't know whether all this was deliberate on the party of the director. If not, even better.

Or worse.

And now tell me you don't shiver.

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Very Bad Things

Author: Gordon Cartee from where u wanna be
5 November 2011

So I'm in Blockbuster and I find this movie in the bargain bin for just less than two dollars. I saw that Christian Slater was in it, as well as Jon Favreau, and it's supposedly a dark comedy. So I like Christian Slater, and Favreau is a likable sort of actor, So I pick it up and take it home and toss it into my DVD player. When it starts, I had high hopes for this movie. The movie is based on the premise of a bachelor party. It did not take long until I was cutting the movie off and thinking: "Why did I sit there and watch that?" And that question has actually plagued my mind since the credits started rolling. All I can come up with is a>I didn't realize how dark the descriptors were talking, and b> they didn't have a CPU in blockbuster where I could consult IMDb. I was severely underwhelmed by the movie. Without getting into spoiler territory, very bad things happen, which you should really expect because of the apt title. But if the people that made this film really and truly felt like giving it an appropriate title, They would have named this movie "Very Bad Thing," because that is EXACTLY what this film is.

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It's a decent black comedy, with more of the horror drama that the actual funny parts

Author: KineticSeoul from United States
13 October 2010

This is a black comedy that doesn't try too hard to be funny. And for the most part I enjoyed this ridiculous movie. The premise is this, a friend is about to get married to a bridezilla and his friends decide to throw him a bachelor party. During the party a big mistake happens and in order to cover the mistake up bad stuff begins to happen. It's basically how if someone catches onto your lies, you lie some more and more until the whole thing becomes bigger than it should. Most of everything turn for the worse when paranoia, hatred, guilt and psychotic stuff begins to happen. A lot of the aspect of the film is downright ridiculous at times and the character reactions is over the top at times, but besides that it's a dark comedy that is worth checking out. People that don't like watching sick and crude comedy might not like this as much, but despite it not really being that funny the horror comedic side of it was actually pretty well done.


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Too good for it's own watchable good

Author: ( from Moldova
3 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At an hour and half long, I think I just watched 50 minutes of grown men yelling at each other that places my mind into a set of a 5th grade class I'm trying to be in charge of. I hate being a teacher.

So, the story of Very Bad Things is as simple as its title implies: good people do bad things. Namely, murder and maim each other. A bachelor party ends up with an accidentally dead hooker. But hey! It's Vegas! Just bury her in the desert. It takes five minutes of excellent character actors Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, Leland Orser and Daniel Stern screaming at each other in exactly the way upstanding middle aged men would in the aftermath of manslaughter to set the actual tone of the movie. I say five minutes, and you hear "a short period" but in the movie world, five minutes is an eternity.

We'd been led astray, with goofy soccer mom Lois (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her camcorder making us think this was a comedy.

I signed up for a comedy. The poster told me so. The cast implied it so! And don't get me wrong, I'm one of those annoying jerks in theatres who laughs at everything from punch lines to zombies getting a croquet mallet in the head to Austen lasses getting rejected at a dance. My favorite comedies include Heathers and American Beauty.

I also get wet for movies that portray human behavior accurately – see two favorites above. So Peter Berg (wrote and directed) totally nailing how confused these suburbanites are after unexpected and repercussion- full death is beautiful. The actors are spot on. Each grabs the personality of their character and whines, cries, yells, throws punches exactly as they should. And even though Jon Favreau's character is the protagonist, Christian Slater's character is the one directing action among the friends. That is, he picks up on how not to get caught by police and wrangles his four friends along.

What ensues is a cacophonous clean up, more murders and side stepping.All brilliant. It's just not funny. It's just not good watching.

The weird part is that, this easily could have been a comedy. The situations are ludicrous, the soundtrack is ironic and upbeat, Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz's characters are perfect cartoons for serial killing! The rest of the cast and the writing is just, well, too good.

Not to insult Slater or Diaz's jobs here – they are absolutely my favorite part of the whole thing. In fact, Diaz actually steals the damn show. Her 10-12 minutes of total screen time as a bridezilla who is not going to let serial murder get between her and her perfect wedding, are priceless and the best I've ever seen her. She snaps between lovey-dovey and furious in half a second. Not just with her face, with her whole body! She acts with everything she has! You can almost smell her overpriced perfume she's so good.

Since she is the lady who epitomizes the blasé tretment of murder, it is also Diaz who holds the moralistic "covering up your murders is bad" In the end the camera stays on her romping facial expressions as she cleans the house, now orphaned children, gazes at her maimed husband and his maimed best friend and goes a little Jim Carey running into the middle of the street to fall over. Goofy beyond reckoning? Absolutely. She gives me my humor! Berg's last gift is the use of a wide scope lens in a super close up of her now-deranged face, blowing her cartoonish face right up to redeemably funny proportions and then pans out to the stratosphere, leaving our adorable idiot squirming in the middle of the road.

Over all, a little too good a rendition of normal people doing bad things.

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Entertaining but vicious

Author: d-millhoff from Los Angeles
6 June 2010

Real Bad Things has all the makes of a great comedy, but the mean-spirited nature of it distracts a little from the comedy.

A bachelor party goes very wrong, and Christian Slater's character, getting in touch with his inner sociopath, proves to be something of a bad influence as the situation escalates out of control.

Cameron Diaz puts in a surprising performance when her character proves to be the meanest of the bunch.

You have to sit through a lot of over-the-top viciousness, but the punchline-ending is worth the ordeal. Lets just say that karma reigns supreme as everyone gets pretty much exactly what they deserve.

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"Did you do the cocaine last night?"

Author: rhinocerosfive-1 from Los Angeles
26 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A present for every boy who longed for something as good as "Animal House" while suffering through the age of Chris Farley and Jim Carrey. This isn't quite as consistent as a pre-helicopter accident John Landis movie, but it has the best first half of any 90s comedy - free, wild, vicious, and delighted to be out from under Reagan-Bush era social constraints. Cripples, drugs, whore sex, murder, race jokes. There's no Tom Hanks at this bachelor party.

A mostly disappointing third act manages to wrap up it up in the right spirit. Altogether maybe my favorite movie of 1998. I saw this in an audience of women, many of whom walked out, I guess because Cameron Diaz plays a bitch princess just a little too accurately for some people. Diaz isn't in it much, but she's better here than she often is, and while I don't know her personally, she plays a shallow, selfish brat more convincingly than she does a cute, likable ingenue.

The rest of the cast, with one exception, is fine. I mean, sure, Christian Slater's part would have been better played by Vince Vaughan; but Slater's no hack. Leland Orser's weird as hell, Daniel Stern is reliable as always, John Favreau is a straight man for the ages. And Kobe Tai is the best bachelor party stripper since Nick the Dick.

But the exception is Piven. He's not fine. He's a god. It's Piven's film; we're all just watching it.

Jeremy Piven was born to play an underachieving lout in movies (as he was born to play an overachieving lout on TV), and Peter Berg makes the best cinematic use to date of this wonderful performer. His manic, hookercidal, fratricidal characterization here is a high-water mark for the crazy buddy role. "I'm gonna do this and then we're gonna go to Fatburger" has become a boys'-night-out mantra. This film effectively exorcises the demon of PCU and places Piven at the forefront of wack-job talent.

It was one of the great injustices of Hollywood that after this one failed to perform at the box office, Berg didn't direct another movie for five years. Now, after a couple of crowd-pleasing kids' movies, let's hope he writes something this dark again.

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