Very Bad Things (1998)

Very Bad Things
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Peter Berg
Cast: Jon Favreau, Leland Orser, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Kobe Tai
Seen on: 11.4.2016

Plot:
Kyle (Jon Favreau) and Laura (Cameron Diaz) are about to get married. As Laura is fully occupied organizing everything, Kyle’s friends Charles (Leland Orser), Robert (Christian Slater), Michael (Jeremy Piven) and Adam (Daniel Stern) are mostly looking forward to his bachelor party in Las Vegas. Kyle isn’t quite as excited about it, especially not when a sex worker (Kobe Tai) shows up in their hotel room. As Michael goes to have sex with her in the bathroom, she hits her head and dies. The guys start to panic but agree to cover things up – which is only the start of the problems.

Very Bad Things is a prime example of the worst kind of edgy humor, confusing offensiveness with being funny at every turn and ending up a tired, uncomfortable¬† mess. No wonder it’s virtually unknown – it would have been better if I had kept it that way as well.

verybadthings

[SPOILERS]

Funnily enough, Very Bad Things shares some narrative similarities with L’affaire de la rue de Lourcine that I so recently saw. In both instances, a bunch of guys are very bus covering up a death they didn’t cause and without any thought of the female victim. I thought that the production of the play I saw didn’t push that reprehensible angle enough, but compared to this film, the play was a vigil to the victim. In Very Bad Things, the sex worker – Tina – is barely a person at all and certainly not somebody to be mourned and we are supposed to laugh at the antics of five guys who treat her as a problem and not a human.

The decidedly misogynistic tone of this is underscored by the bridezillaesque Laura – a woman who will do anything to get married, even though she doesn’t seem to like Kyle particularly well and who already shapes up to be the nagging, controlling wife of sexist nightmares (which makes you wonder why Kyle would want to marry her, either). The misogyny is completed by the racism: Tina is Asian, the security guard that has to die shortly after her is black. Both are pretty much the only people of color in the film.

verybadthings1

And could it be any different but that the film is also ableist as fuck? Of course not. The film punishes everybody. Most of the guys end up dead, but some are disabled, nicely reinforcing the old myth that disability is god’s/karma’s/nature’s way to punish bad people. You know what? Fuck you.

Add to that that the film mostly consists of men screaming at each other which gets unnerving quickly and you’ve got one hell of a clusterfuck on your hands. It’s not funny, it’s utterly forgettable and I hope that everyone who participated in this film deeply regrets it by now. I know I regret spending any money on the DVD.

verybadthings2Summarizing: Burn it with fire.

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