Very Bad Things (1998)

Written & Directed by Peter Berg

Here is a film that I had never ever even heard of until my boss handed it to me along with a slew of other unknown films from the 90s which he felt I needed to see. But upon further investigation, I realized that the film had quite a few people that I know. Jon Favreau, who is now famous for directing the “Iron Man” films but got his start opposite Vince Vaughn in Swingers. It also stars Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”), Daniel Stern, Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz. Oh, and to boot, it was written and directed by Peter Berg, who is famous for Friday Night Lights, a film I very much enjoy. So all right, it has all these people in it, you gave it to me to watch, I’ve still never heard of it, so what is this film all about?

Well Kyle Fisher (Favreau) is about to get married to the lovely Laura (Diaz), so his friends, who consist of Piven, Stern, Slater and Leland Orser, who plays the strange Moore, decide to throw him a great bachelor party in Las Vegas, complete with drugs, alcohol, and of course a stripper/prostitute. But when Piven’s character accidentily kills the prostitute, things begin to unravel and an elaborate coverup is followed by a massive case of paranoia as Fisher just tries to make it to his wedding with the woman he loves.

First of all, what!? This movie makes no kind of sense at all. I mean I know I am a square and naive and all that, but really? Does everybody go to Vegas, do drugs, get belligerently drunk and do incredibly stupid things for a bachelor party? How amazingly cliche. And the characters! Oh my goodness the characters are ridiculous too! They seem to be rooted in some fantasy world where people all do crazy things without logic. And everything unfolds in such an unbelievable manner that I almost felt insulted by the film. It was just one dumb, uninteresting, cliche plot point after another. And why should I care!? These people are stupid and don’t exist in real life!?

The acting too, om my goodness, the acting. Favreau isn’t so bad, but Christian Slater. On my goodness Christian Slater. He tries to play it over the top but doesn’t seem to quite get there, which just makes the performance seem that much more off. Now I understand why he disappeared at about this time in his career. Basically the movie sucked because everything was flat. Despite the antics, nothing seemed grounded in reality and the film didn’t go far enough for it to be a farce, or a B-movie delight. And all of the “stakes” it tries to establish ring false because we are dealing with bad, stupid people. I don’t care. If anything, I now respect The Hangover so much more now.

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