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VERY BAD THINGS ($30) is a black comedy with absolutely no redeeming social value. However, this is not to say that the film doesn’t have a few genuinely funny moments. Of course, those moments are all fairly sick and twisted. The film's biggest problem is that it sometimes gets bogged down in its own excessive nastiness. The concept of VERY BAD THINGS should work because there isn't a moment in the film that is grounded in reality. However, the fact that the filmmaker’s chose to have all the characters pay for their sins, drags the film back down to reality, which makes the situations too distasteful for their own good. Since VERY BAD THINGS is a black comedy, it would have been a whole lot funnier, if somebody, somewhere would have gotten away with something. Sure, throw a little morality into the mix, but only punish the truly guilty and leave someone to have the last laugh. Executive producer Christian Slater should have learned this lesson form HEATHERS.

The plot of VERY BAD THINGS concerns a bachelor party in Las Vegas. Of course, the five participants act like overage delinquents. They raise hell, imbibe madly, use illegal pharmaceuticals and generally trash their hotel suite. The party goes by the numbers, that is, until the stripper shows up. Unfortunately, a little extracurricular activity in the bathroom leads to an unforeseen accident and one very dead stripper. How our boys deal with their 105 pound problem is the crux of VERY BAD THINGS. Instead of calling the cops, these bright lads invest in a chainsaw and some shovels, then pay a visit to the desert where they divest themselves of their problem.

However, they quickly discover that their kind of problem never really goes away, especially when they have to deal with an ever-escalating body count. VERY BAD THINGS stars Christian Slater as Robert Boyd, the ringleader who organizes the party and comes up with the bright idea of burying the evidence in the desert. Cameron Diaz plays it against type as Laura Garrety, the obsessed bride who will stop at nothing to have the perfect wedding. Jon Favreau is Kyle Fisher, the groom to be who finds himself in way over his head with his friends and his future bride. The cast of VERY BAD THINGS also features Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Leland Orser.

Polygram Video offers VERY BAD THINGS in both full screen and anamorphic enhanced wide screen on different layers of this single sided DVD. The wide screen transfer of VERY BAD THINGS properly frames the film at 1.85:1. Image quality is very good, but no one is going to whip out this disc to give a demo of the DVD format. Most of the time the image is sharp and detailed, but there are a couple of shots that look a tad soft. Film grain was noticeable in a couple of places, but is never truly overt. Color reproduction is very good, with natural looking flesh tones. Saturation is very good most of the time, but there are a couple of shots that look somewhat pale. Black are truly black, contrast is relatively smooth and image offers good shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts remained in check throughout the presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack had a good mix with clean, natural sounding dialogue. Music is faithfully recreated on the track. Comedies don’t lend themselves to big overblown mixes and VERY BAD THINGS isn’t an exception to that rule. Directional effects appear when required, but never become overly pronounced. English Dolby Surround and French 5.1 channel soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD.

The simplistic interactive menus provide the standard scene and soundtrack selection features, plus access to a theatrical trailer and cast biographies/filmographies.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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