Very Bad Things

Reviewed By Ryan Arthur
Posted 12/01/98 02:36:56

3 stars (Average)

The question is: does this movie try too hard, or not try hard enough?

A dark, dark, dark comedy. I mean, really dark. Like, midnight black with a new moon and intense cloud cover and dark fog.

If you're easily offended, or if you're not into black comedies, then skip this movie. I think it's an interesting film, not necessarily good or bad, but interesting.

Once again, Jon Favreau plays a guy who goes to Vegas. Too bad he couldn't have brought "Double Down" with him. Favreau plays Kyle, a guy just about to get married to the lovely Laura (Cameron Diaz). Laura is fretting over the wedding. She's basically doing everything herself, and she meticulously plans seating arrangements then way military leaders plan strategic strikes.

Kyle is carted off to Vegas for his bachelor party by a groupf friends. Among the merry band: Robert Boyd (Christian Slater, aping Jack, again), a guy with serious emotional issues; squabbling brothers Adam and Michael Berkow (Daniel Stern and Jeremy Piven), and Charles (Leland Orser), the quiet one.

Drugs are snorted, loud music is playing, and a stripper is in the room. In a bizarre accident, she's killed when she's impaled on a towel hook. The men freak, with the exception of Robert, who says that this is just "a 105-pound problem." Until a guard shows up, and then he gets taken down, too.

So you've got two dead bodies. What do you do?

Cut 'em up and bury 'em in the desert.

And this is how a filmed version of "can you top this?" begins. The bodies are in the ground, the guilt starts to manifest, and things get stranger and stranger as people continue to die in accidents and other murders.

Writer/director Peter Berg tries to continually one-up himself, seeing what he can get away with, and seeing just what it is an audience will laugh at (or cringe at, or both):

Head-on collisions. Retarded kids. A woman biting a man in the groin. A couple more deaths. Gristle on a chainsaw. Quadripelegics in breath-powered wheelchairs.

I'll be honest. I laughed a lot. But the film's hollow. There's no motivation in what the characters do, and there's no repercussions in their actions, regardless of how reprehensible.

It looks interesting, I'll admit, although the jumpcuts and weird angles make me worried that Berg may be the next Michael Bay, God help us all.

Flashy, but empty. Not for everyone.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.