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Very Bad Things


Where has the time gone? Very Bad Things came out over 20 years ago. I started to realize that it had been a while when I would make a reference to it and only get back blank stares. Then when I found out my romantic partner had never seen the movie, I decided it would be a perfect time to re-watch it.

My partner was not enthusiastic about watching the movie. She thought it looked like a crime drama. I assured her it was a dark comedy, along the lines of a Death Becomes Her, and once I told her that Jon Favreau and Christian Slater were in it she was convinced. (Also in the movie were Cameron Diaz and Jeremy Piven, which I had forgotten. I might not have even known who they were when I first saw the movie.)

I guess I should explain what the movie is about, if this is to be a legitimate review. Jon Favreau plays Kyle, who is about to marry Cameron Diaz's Laura. Kyle's friends, led by Christian Slater's Boyd, take him off to Las Vegas for his bachelor party. There is drinking, there are drugs, there is a stripper/prostitute. When one of the friends accidentally kills the girls during sex in the bathroom, they have to decide whether to call the cops or hide what happened. As they decide to sneak the body out to the desert, a hotel security guard shows up. Boyd kills the guard, removing any option of calling the cops.

The rest of the movie deals with the fallout of their actions in Vegas, and their attempts to cover up those actions. Laura becomes increasingly shrill, Boyd becomes increasingly unhinged, and Kyle's other two friends (who happen to be brothers) start to come apart at the seams. There are some strange twists, and characters suddenly reveal themselves to be ruthless and vicious. The movie ends in a way that is both funny and severely depressing.

When I watched this movie after it's first release on home video, I thought it was the funniest and most clever thing I had seen in a while. Apparently my sense of humor has changed somewhat in the past two decades. There were still scenes that made me laugh, and everyone performed their parts well. It just wasn't the dark and twisted laugh riot that I remembered. It's still dark, and a little twisted, it just isn't as funny as I remembered it being. Some of the jokes fell flat because they have become dated (like bickering about the car phone). There were longer stretches between the funny bits than I remembered.

One thing that helps me to enjoy the movie more, I like to pretend that Christian Slater's character from Heathers somehow survived that movie and grew up to become Boyd. Heathers was in 1988 and Very Bad Things in 1998, so the timing works out. Plus the two characters are very similar. Of course Slater dies in Heathers, but I don't let that get in my way. Even with this personal enhancement, I don't know that this movie is worth going out of your way to see. It was recently remade into the ScarJo vehicle Rough Night. I haven't seen that one yet, but if nothing else I know I'd rather stare at Black Widow for an hour and a half than Happy Hogan. Still, if there's not much else on and you don't really have anything else to do, this movie is still enjoyable, if not as much as it was back in the day.


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