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Polygram presents
Very Bad Things (1999)

"The reality is: take away the horror of the situation; the tragedy of the death. Take away the moral and ethical implications and all the crap you've had conditioned and beaten into your head since grade one, and what are you left with? What? A 105 pound problem. A hundred and five pounds that has to be moved from point A to point B."
- Robert Boyd (Christian Slater)

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: May 02, 2000

Stars: Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, Christian Slater
Other Stars: Daniel Stern, Cameron Diaz
Director: Peter Berg

MPAA Rating: R for strong, grisly violence, sexuality, drug use and language.
Run Time: 91h:41m:00s
Release Date: May 18, 1999
UPC: 044005827729
Genre: black comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Add Peter Berg's directorial debut Very Bad Things to the list of the blackest of black comedies, along with Heathers, Eating Raoul, and The Last Supper, with a touch of Kalifornia for bad behavior. Despite sporting a cast headed by Cameron Diaz and Christian Slater, this is not your average movie for the average moviegoer; something made excruciatingly evident by its box office draw (9.9 million). But I can't lie to you, I found Very Bad Things to be a dark, sinister, and at times brutal but hilarious romp. What can I say, I'm twisted! Of course, we're not talking high art here, are we?

Kyle Fisher, played by Jon Favreau (Swingers) is days away from marrying the beautiful but violently anal-retentive Laura Garrety, played with bewitching humor by Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary,My Best Friend's Wedding). In that most manly of traditions, his best four buddies are about to treat him to a night he will never forget... really. The five guys head to Las Vegas in a mini-van for a night of drugs, sex and rock and roll, or in other words, a bachelor party. After drinking, smoking, snorting and generally lathering themselves into a frenzy, the true entertainment arrives: the stripper.

When Kyle comes to the moral conclusion that he cannot sleep with the stripper, his friend Michael, a commanding performance by Jeremy Piven (TV's Ellen and Cupid,Kiss the Girls), decides to take his shot. Michael accidentally slips while having torrid sex in the bathroom, and the stripper is killed. When Michael's nervous, disapproving brother, Adam, played with nerve wracking skill by Daniel Stern (Home Alone,City Slickers), decides to call the police, Robert Boyd (Christian Slater) appears to take control of the situation and a momentary calm settles upon the chaos. Boyd convinces the group that burying the body in the desert will be a lesser evil than telling the truth to the police. This however, is only the beginning.

It may take a bit of time to open this yarn, but the unraveling is fast and furious and worth the wait.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesn/a

Image Transfer Review: This single-sided RSDL disc contains both a pan & scan and an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. This is a very good transfer, free from nicks and scratches, with little evident aliasing distortion, pixelation or artifacts. My only complaint is that there was a certain amount of softness, particularly during early outdoor scenes.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This disc contains both a Dolby Surround 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The dialogue is well placed and easy to understand, with a few exceptions where it was necessary to raise the volume to understand the conversation. There is nice use of the rear speakers for ambient noise, which mostly come into play during those moments of intensity when that extra punch is needed. A nice sweeping effect is used during between scene wipes, one that startled me after taking me off guard.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: This Polygram disc is skinny on features: a theatrical trailer, cast's & filmmaker's bios, English and French languages, and English for Closed Captioning.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Slater, Diaz and Piven help push the comedic envelope to the point of no return for only but the sickest audience members. This movie is not for the squeamish, faint of heart or for little kiddies, but if you like this type of film you should enjoy most of Very Bad Things. Otherwise, despite a fairly clear print and transfer, the lack of extras and the content make this a suggested renter.


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