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Very Bad Things

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 01/31/99 13:40:44

"It's 'Heathers 2: Five Years Later'. How can that be bad?"
5 stars (Awesome)

I think a lot of people miss the subtlety of this flick. It's not the kind of film that 'announces' it's comedy, or endeavors to keep you laughing throughout. It's more like a car wreck rolling across the black-top for two hours. It's horrific, it's disgusting, but damn it, you can't bring yourself to look away.

Peter Berg can lick my nuts as an actor, but as a director I'm a new-found fan. Being a newbie has allowed him to be different from the mainstream, and you have to love different.

He starts this misadventure darkly, even when the scenes are nothing but nuclear-bright, by jamming the camera into all kinds-a close-ups and twisted angles. The music is down and dirty, the hooker is in da house, the coke is being sucked up like a Richard Pryor benefit - these boys are down for a last night of unholy 'geddin-it-orrrrn' before one of them is to marry.

As the night wears on, the hooker has snuffed it. Some raucous rumpy-pumpy has left her impaled on a coat-hook and the kids have a problem. Enter Christian Slater, doing the character he does so well, the man with the plan and just a little psychosis thrown in.

So what's good about this flick? In my opinion, everything. It's (to quote Frosty) "nastay". It has all the gross-out touches of There's Something About Mary, mixed in with a little 'killing for a cause' a la Heathers, and a lot of the old Slater "I've got a gun and I like using it" aggro that I grew up adoring.

When the movie starts off with Slater calling Daniel Stern a "fucking jew", you kinda know that political correctness is out the window. When people are getting rammed with cars, gutted with corkscrews and rammed in the head with hatstands it's all very easy to start taking things seriously. But you shouldn't. This is humorous violence. It's funny, dammit!

Maybe not Jim-Carrey-talking-out-his-ass funny, but sneaking up on you funny.

I mean, whether it be watching Slates, half dead, blood everywhere, dragging himself up a stairwell seeking vengeance screaming "spawning salmon, baby", finding demure Jeannie Tripplehorn is a kung fu housewife, hearing a little kid calling a legless Favreau a "fucking gimp", watching Cameron Diaz just completely losing the plot and going into convulsion in the middle of the street, or even the elevator muzak that was often playing in background as someone was de-bowelled, it's all funny, but in a giggling to yourself kind of way.

It's a movie that you deep down dig, but on the surface feel compelled to write off as gross. I mean I've been waiting for many years to see some of these people die horrifically and I finally got my wishes.

It's a case of needing to watch it again to catch everything. I was hearing and seeing things in the background of this film that made me hysterical with giggles and I'm sure much of it was missed by the majority.

The cast. Let me be clear on this. Jon Favreau I consider to be awful (see my Swingers review). Cameron Diaz I consider to be talentless (see my There's Something About Mary review). Daniel Stern I consder to be the next Ernest (see my Celtic Pride review).

But people... they were goooood. Favreau was boring, sure, but that was his character and he was fine. Diaz, who I never gave any credit to for having a humorous bone in her body, was great. She was irritating, sure, but that was her character. Stern... never seen the guy, or anyone for that matter, lose it so completely and compellingly. I was loving watching this guy go through personal hell. It was something I waited years for.

But Slater. Not so much great, as just the same ol' same ol'. And that same ol' was what made him Mr Generation X for all those years.

The end scene of the movie... I laughed all the way home. See this film. If you've seen it, go see it again. Get drunk first. Or whacked out of your tree stoned. And then sit back and see this how it was intended - as a dark as hell poke in the ribs to every convention and pretention Hollywood is built on. There's no semen in the hair, but dammit there's everything else you never expected.

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