Very Bad Things (1998)

Written and Directed by Peter Berg
Starring Jon Favreau, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern

My Advice: Wait for MST3K.

Life is great for Kyle (Favreau).  He's about to be married to a woman who is ostensibly the girl of his dreams (Diaz).  But just beforehand, his buds take him on a whacked-out bachelor party tour of Vegas, which ends in a prostitute's (Kobe Tai) accidental death at the hands of the bumbling (and horny) Michael (Piven).  Given the amount of illegal substances hanging around the hotel room, real estate mogul Boyd (Slater) convinces everyone that they should not call the police but instead bury her body in the desert...and it all goes to hell from there.

Unfortunately, the movie goes straight to hell as well.  We start off with a great concept, which seems like a comedic morality play in hell.  Watch a study in which seemingly normal people crumble into bits one by one.  But Berg couldn't make up his mind what he wanted as far as a genre.  At times, the pseudo-suspense of "Who's going to crack and let the cat out of the bag?" marks this film as a thriller.  At times, the individual fates of the five friends seems like the morality play I mentioned.  At times, you get the idea that it wants to be a comedy.  But whereas a film that jumps around and can't make up its mind what it wants to be is merely mediocre, this film's out and out tasteless cruelty makes it an embarrassment.  It makes the Farrelly Brothers look like Merchant Ivory, which I believe was Berg's intention.  If that is indeed the case, it only goes to show that he has entered the David Caruso Society and will no doubt be crawling back to television within a few years.  Let me put it to you this way: I can't remember the last time I was so completely offended by a film.

As for the cast, the only ones worth mentioning are Daniel Stern's frenetic guilt-ridden family man and Leland Orser's mechanic who decides to reform and join Greenpeace.  But still, you wonder about any of their judgements if they thought this film was funny.  It had its moments, but its utter pointless sadism makes the movie unwatchable.  Never have I wanted to walk out of a film more than this one.  Congratulations, Peter.

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