Very Bad Things
|Very Bad Things|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Berg|
|Produced by||Cindy Cowan
|Screenplay by||Peter Berg|
|Based on||Very Bad Things
by Gene Brewer
|Music by||Stewart Copeland|
|Edited by||Dan Lebental|
|Initial Entertainment Group
|Distributed by||PolyGram Filmed Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||November 27, 1998|
|Running time||100 minutes|
|Box office||$9.9 million|
Very Bad Things is a 1998 black comedy film directed by Peter Berg, based on the book by Gene Brewer. It stars Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz, with Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Leland Orser in supporting roles.
Kyle Fisher (Favreau) and Charles Moore (Orser) wait uncomfortably for Fisher's wedding to his fiancée Laura (Diaz), reminiscing about recent events.
Going back a few days, Fisher organizes a crazy bachelor party in a Las Vegas hotel with his best friends: Moore, Robert Boyd (Slater), and brothers Adam and Michael Berkow (Stern and Piven), spending the night with drinks, drugs and a stripper/prostitute, Tina (Tai). Things go awry when Michael gets drunk and pays Tina extra money for sex in the bathroom, then accidentally slams her against a wall and puts a towel hook through her head, killing her instantly. As the group argues over what to do - Adam insisting that they call the police, and Boyd demanding that they bury Tina's body in the desert - a security guard comes to investigate the noise and sees Tina's corpse in the bathroom. In desperation, Boyd stabs the guard to death and the group is forced to dismember the bodies to take them to the desert for burial.
Over the next few days, Adam remains riddled with guilt over his role in the cover-up, particularly when the guard's disappearance appears in the paper. Meanwhile, Boyd becomes obsessed with gruesome death. At the rehearsal dinner, Adam cracks under the pressure, leading to a confrontation with Michael in the parking lot. Though the group breaks up the fight and convinces Michael to leave, he tries to ram his jeep into Adam's beloved minivan. Adam desperately runs in front of his minivan to stop him and is crushed in the inevitable collision. In the hospital, Adam whispers something to his wife Lois (Tripplehorn) before succumbing to his injuries. Michael, wracked with guilt, becomes slightly insane over his brother's death.
Lois calls the remaining men and demands answers about what happened in Las Vegas. Fisher desperately makes up a story about Adam sleeping with a prostitute, and not for the first time. But Boyd, suspecting that Lois does not believe them and will call the police, invades her home that night; they clash violently and he kills her. He then calls Fisher and Moore to bring Michael to the house, where he quietly shoots him dead before rejoining Fisher and Moore in the car. He concocts an alibi about a Michael/Lois/Adam love triangle to answer any interrogation by police. Fisher and Laura are awarded custody of Adam and Lois' sons, but they are conned out of most of Adam's life-insurance policy by the tax office taking advantage of Adam's rightly-timed death. Fisher breaks down and confesses the story to Laura privately, but she shrugs most of it off and insists that the wedding will proceed as planned.
On the wedding day, Boyd confronts Fisher and demands Adam's life-insurance money; Fisher refuses and a fight ensues. Intervening, Laura viciously beats Boyd into unconsciousness with a hatstand, but during the wedding, Fisher and Moore realize that Boyd, who was to be the best man, has the wedding rings. Moore retrieves them and Boyd succumbs to his injuries while Laura and Fisher are married. Once the newlyweds have a private moment, Laura demands that Fisher bury Boyd's body in the desert, then leave no witnesses by killing Moore and Adam's dog. Fisher and Moore head out to bury Boyd with the bodies of Michael, Tina, and the guard, but Fisher cannot go through with killing Moore or the dog. Overcome reminiscing about happier times with his friends, Fisher loses focus and crashes into a passing car.
Fisher, Moore, and the dog are all left disabled, and Laura is forced to look after them and Adam's sons for the rest of her life.
- Christian Slater as Robert Boyd
- Jon Favreau as Kyle Fisher
- Cameron Diaz as Laura Garrety-Fisher
- Daniel Stern as Adam Berkow
- Jeremy Piven as Michael Berkow
- Leland Orser as Charles Moore
- Jeanne Tripplehorn as Lois Berkow
- Joey Zimmerman as Adam Berkow, Jr.
- Kobe Tai as Tina
Roger Ebert wrote that Very Bad Things is "not a bad movie, just a reprehensible one." Some critics appreciated the cold-blooded approach. Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide said, "In a world filled with crude movie sitcoms, Berg's bitter, worst-possible-case scenario really does stand alone."
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