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Very Bad Things (1998)


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 52
Fresh: 23
Rotten: 29

Critics Consensus: Mean-spirited and empty.

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 12
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: Mean-spirited and empty.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 35,012



Movie Info

The only thing that Kyle Fisher wants is to marry the woman he loves, Laura Garrety. All Laura wants is the wedding of her dreams. But before Kyle staggers down the aisle with his beautiful, controlling bride, his buddies decide to give their friend one last night of freedom, male bonding and debauchery. Real estate hustler Boyd (Christian Slater); the battling Berkow brothers, Adam and Michael; and introvert mechanic Moore throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for Kyle that is a smashing success, … More

R (for strong, grisly violence, sexuality, drug use and language)
Directed By:
Written By:
Peter Berg
In Theaters:
Apr 27, 1999


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Critic Reviews for Very Bad Things

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (29) | DVD (10)

Berg is so in love with his escalating shock tactics that they quickly cease to shock.

May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

...hollow, simple-minded and about as profound an experience as stepping in a pile of road kill.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The gross-out humor lacks edge, the guilt never kicks in, and the outrages are predictable. It's one flat brewski.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

It's extremely lousy material, but these guys make the most of it.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Peter Berg's Very Bad Things isn't a bad movie, just a reprehensible one.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Disappointing film, directed by a good actor, Peter Berg, who thinks his tale is clever and witty

Full Review… | August 14, 2011

Very Bad Things is a horrible hoot. It is one of those movies that put you through the wringer. It doesn't tickle the funny bone -- it pulverizes it. You don't know whether to laugh, gasp, or walk out.

Full Review… | June 22, 2009

Very Bad Things is a deliciously nasty morality tale that simply warns viewers that what goes around comes around.

Full Review… | June 29, 2008 of the more effective black comedies to come around in quite some time.

Full Review… | October 13, 2007
Reel Film Reviews

A Swiftian satire on white yuppies -- it's American Psycho with five psychos.

Full Review… | July 24, 2007

A vicious, disturbing black comedy that delivers a wickedly entertaining ride if you don't take it too seriously.

March 4, 2006

His [Berg] one serious mistake is to confuse gore with terror.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

...the film wages a war against one's moral senses in a story that's unforgettable.

Full Review… | June 5, 2002
Boxoffice Magazine

The trouble is that Berg doesn't seem sure how to draw matters to a close.

Full Review… | March 3, 2002
Sight and Sound

There are some hysterically funny bits, but the excessive violence sometimes kills the laughter.

Full Review… | January 9, 2002

a blood-soaked parody of the American dream

Full Review… | February 27, 2001
Q Network Film Desk

There is a line between gallows humor and tastelessness, but Very Bad Things apparently doesn't have a clue where that might be.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Austin Chronicle

...unpleasant and extremely unfunny...

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

It's the eternal question.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Film Journal International

Its utter pointless sadism makes the movie unwatchable.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Very Bad Things

Unjustifiably mean spirited and at times headache inducing, Peter Berg's Very Bad Things (1998) is a muddled and ill-conceived attempt at creating a cult black comedy without any funny ideas. We open with Kyle Fisher (John Favreau) a 30 something year old man waiting to be married to his fiancée Laura (Cameron Diaz). He sits alongside Charles Moore (the near silent Leland Orser) and together the pair reminisce the insane recent events that lead them to where they are now.

We are then pulled back a few days and Kyle is set to leave on his bachelor party with friends Robert Boyd (Slater), brothers Adam and Michael Berkow (Daniel Stern and Jeremy Piven) and Leeland. From here on out things get undeniable messy; a swooping shot of a Casino table begins a montage of shouting, drinking, drug taking and bromantic babble, all shot with a constantly moving camera and distorted visual overlays jumping from one moment to the next. It's a merciless affair that thankfully ends relatively quickly with the arrival and consequent murder of a prostitute, setting of a dark chain of cover-up murders and madness.

It's obvious from both the film's posters and on-screen who are the real stars are here. Slater's performance as the psychotically persuasive Boyd feels as if it could be the later iteration of his character from 1989's cult classic 'Heathers', and Cameron Diaz conveys her character's longing for marriage and subsequent madness in a convincingly annoying fashion. Other character's and performances here are less refined, as Berg to often relies on racial identity and for comedy; his constant stereotyping of Jews in particular grows tiresome quickly.

VBT also falls apart when it comes to comedy senarios, with Berg constantly trying to present unfunny situations in a funny manner. Take, for example, the scene in which Boyd goes to set up a murder/suicide, it's undoubtedly the most dramatic point in the plot but for some reason Berg decides to turn it into a penis biting joke. Moments like this occur far to often and what feels like could have been an interesting deconstruction of the American Dream is lost among the chaos.

Alongside it's bigger problems VBT suffers also from an overused and over-loud soundtrack, the always annoying shaky cam and a tone that darts between the serious and silly in an obnoxious fashion. If you asked Berg what exactly he was attempting in this film I'm sure he'd say it was a comment on voyeurism and the way people have become desensitized to violence so much that they can laugh at it, and I'm sure that may be the case, but only if it's funny.

Cameron Sherwell
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

"Very Bad Things is a crazy movie. I thought it was going to be a little like the movie Hangover, but I was really wrong. This film is a twisted in a good way. It goes to places I didn't see the movie going. There is chaos throughout. It's not a film meant to be taken seriously. It gross, funny, and disturbing. I enjoyed it. The cast was good and the ending was pretty funny. I'm not sure if I would see again though."


Super Reviewer

I loved this dark comedy. It's full of very bad stuff, but it's all so horribly funny at the same time. Plus, the cast is great. If you have a sick sense of humour, see this movie.

AJ Verser

Super Reviewer


Boyd: The room is covered in blow; Moore looks like he went at it with a fuckin' mountain lion. 

"They've been bad. Very bad."

I really liked Very Bad Things for what it was. It's an over-the-top, ridiculous and savage dark, dark comedy. I can totally understand why a lot of people are easily turned off by this movie and don't find it funny at all. The movie is violent and probably would offend most people. I guess that's why I like it. It's not like any of this is actually happening. We all are taking this a little too seriously. I'm going to be the complete opposite of a Roger Ebert type. Ebert feels like movies have to have morals. He said of Very Bad Things that it isn't bad, just "reprehensible." That's why he and many others don't like it, but it is also why I do.

 The laughs come from how completely serious the subject matter is. In no other movie would we be laughing at this. But I found myself laughing and I still don't know why. I'm guessing it's because of the over-the-top performances. The actors and director aren't taking this seriously, so why should I. It's pure entertainment and has nothing to say about morals. It throws them completely out the window and basically in my eyes says, "Fuck You" to anyone that doesn't like it. 

At the end of the day, this is a movie. If we need to look to movies to show us the right way to live and to give us good fundamental moral characters to look up to; what is that saying about us. Now, I'm not saying that I don't like movies that show the correct way to live and the consequences of living wrongly, but I do like this movie for not being that way. It's something fresh. There are no heroes, just anti-heroes. Really there is no true comedy and that's why it's funny(I know that doesn't really make sense, but it's true). It's a well-made film and it's really entertaining. Slater, Favreau, Diaz, Piven, Stern and Orser all give ridiculous, but good performances. You may hate it, but I like it.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Very Bad Things Quotes

Lois Berkow:
You picked the wrong woman, mother fucker!
– Submitted by Sylvester K (22 months ago)

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