Sometimes a film gets completely dismissed upon theatrical release by both critics and moviegoers. Even when the VHS tape comes out, there’s a meh reception. And then time passes until one night you accidentally view it on cable because you mistake the film for another movie that shares cast members. And after a few minutes, you realize this isn’t that movie, but this movie is so much better than you remembered. Such is the case with Very Bad Things which makes The Hangover look like another dull bachelor party at Hooters. This is a non-stop dark comedy about people making non-stop very bad decisions.
Kyle Fisher (Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau) is about to marry the woman of his dreams in Laura Garrety (The Mask‘s Cameron Diaz). In the midst of the wedding preparation chaos, Kyle’s buddies grab him for a bachelor party in Las Vegas. He’s not too into the party because he fears doing something stupid and losing the girl of his dreams. But his pals have zero issues with letting loose in their luxury hotel suite. Robert Boyd (Heathers‘ Christian Slater), Charles Moore (Alien Resurrection‘s Leland Orser), Adam Berkow (Home Alone‘s Daniel Stern) and Michael Berkow (Entourage‘s Jeremy Piven) load Kyle in the minivan and hit the highway. They are ready to unwind a bit now that they’re able to release Vegas style. After doing a lot of drugs and getting a pay-per-view of Mixed Martial Arts tourney, the stripper Tina (Executions on Butt Row‘s Kobe Tai) arrives. Kyle refuses to partake in the performer that isn’t holding back with the guys. After a few lapdances, she vanishes into the mega-bathroom with Michael in order to earn an extra $500. The boys keep themselves busy getting more wasted and wrestling around the room. Michael and the stripper get a little too physical on their own and something very bad happens. It’s so very bad that when the hotel security drops by to check on the noise, an even more horrifically bad things happens. The bachelor party goes really sour as the members have to perform an extreme clean up of the suite since they can’t leave the mess to housekeeping. Once more the advertising slogan of “What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas” proves to be a massive lie. The bachelor party members take the memories of the very bad time back home where they live in fear of either being busted by the investigating cops or ratted out by each other.
There’s no need to give away what happens in the chaos and mayhem between these characters. But there’s no nice and cute on the screen. It’s pure grotesque nightmares for these five guys that wanted to celebrate the last days of a friend’s bachelor living. Writer-Director Peter Berg (The Rundown) keeps his foot on the gas for the entire film. When you think the characters have gotten dark enough, he finds an extra gear and gives us something even more horrific from unsuspecting sources. The final scene would feel perfectly normal in a David Lynch film.
Very Bad Things is the movie you’ll pull out when a clueless relative asks if you have that movie about those guys who doing goofy stuff during a bachelor party in Las Vegas. I’m not saying The Hangover rips off Very Bad Things. They are both about a pack of friends going to Las Vegas for an out of control bachelor party. That’s just a premise that’s fair game to all. What it feels like is Todd Phillips studied Very Bad Things and figure out how to not comes close to the darkness of the film that bombed 11 years before his movie. How do you water down the mayhem so it allows the audience feel like they saw an edgy movie without them being freaked out by a truly dark movie. Happy funny is guys trying to remember what they did in the midst of a drug blackout. Dark funny is guys who remember everything they did during a drug bender. You’d probably be scared of the guy at your office that kept going on about Very Bad Things and quoted the film in the break room. At the end of Very Bad Things, you’re not wanting to see a sequel the reunites the kooky cast of characters. You feel like you’ve survived the worst bachelor party ever imaginable. You’ll settle for going to Hooters for a plate of hot wings and a cab ride home after half a beer.
The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the nastiness of what the bachelor party inspires. There’s a lot of blood on the screen. DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround and DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo. The sound will put you in the middle of the mayhem. The movie is subtitled.
Audio Commentary with film critics Witney Seibold and William Bibbiani. The two do various podcasts. They have plenty of information about the cast and locations. They enjoy film although they view it as difficult to watch.
A Really Harvey Wallbanger (17:23) interview with Jeremy Piven. He points out that this was the darkest project he’s ever been involved in making. He talks about how Adam Sandler originally had his role. But he was ready to jump in the film when his pal Peter Berg gave him the call. He points out that the film came out on Thanksgiving weekend in 1998. Definitely the film you want to take the whole family to see after a full belly of turkey.
The Man Behind the Mask (21:00) lets Daniel Stern start his talk in an odd fashion. He had the time of the life making the film. His story about the burial scene is hilarious. He loved the sick nature of the script. Please notice that Daniel Stern has a copy of Shout! Factory’s Werner Herzog collection on his shelf.
Theatrical Trailer (1:15) sets up five guys going to Vegas for a fun time and things go bad quick.
Still Gallery (6:54) includes the press kit photos and behind the scenes shots.
Shout! Factory presents Very Bad Things. Directed by: Peter Berg. Screenplay by: Peter Berg. Starring: Christian Slater, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jon Favreau & Jeremy Piven. Rated: R Rated. Running Time: 100 minutes. Released: January 28, 2020.
Tags: Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Shout! Factory, Very Bad Things