A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
None. Characters lie to loved ones and resort to violence to solve their problems.
Positive Role Models
Some characters have good intentions but become heavily compromised by their amoral actions. They use twisted logic to justify murder and other criminal acts. Other characters kill with no guilt and appear psychotic. The movie's dark tone is played for comic effect.
The majority of the cast is White and male. Some gender and ethnic diversity in supporting roles. Adam is guided by his Jewish faith, but there are antisemitic and anti-Mexican tropes and dialogue. Racism about Black and Asian people. Boyd advocates mindfulness and therapy, but uses it in questionable ways. Characters become paranoid and erratic as the result of trauma. Portrayal of amputees and other characters in wheelchairs played for comic effect. Laura, played by Cameron Diaz, is reduced to a "stereotypical" nagging wife-to-be with little agency.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody accident and death involving a sharp object going into the back of someone's head. Violent scuffles. Character stabbed to death. Bloody injury detail. Bodies dismembered with a chainsaw. Blood-covered surfaces. Body parts shown in plastic bags. Character shown with broken nose and black eyes from automobile accident. Character crushed to death. Attempted smothering. Biting. Assault with blunt object. Character sustains fatal injury from fall. Characters argue over money owed, come to blows.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Character cheats on their spouse by having sex with a sex worker, which ends in a fatal accident. Both are shown fully naked from side and rear. Topless nudity at a bachelor party.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language used includes "ass," "f---ing," "a--hole," "goddammit," "s--t," "bulls--t," "f--k," "son of a bitch," "damn," "goddamn," "motherf----r", and "bitch." Racist slurs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink to excess, smoke cigarettes, snort cocaine. Reference to being hungover. Bong pictured. Character given sedative pills, becomes inebriated.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Very Bad Things is a dark comedy with extreme violence, strong language, drinking, drugs, and sex. The movie starts with a bachelor party led by devious best man Boyd (Christian Slater), which results in an accidental death that has far-reaching implications. There in fact several deaths leading to two dead bodies being dismembered by a chainsaw and buried in parts. Other strong violence includes stabbings and someone being crushed. Most of the characters are selfish and unsympathetic and do not have redemptive character arcs. Strong language is frequent, with multiple variations of "f--k" and "s--t." Racist and antisemitic language and behavior is also heard and displayed. Sex is infrequent but strong in places, with a female stripper dancing topless at the bachelor party and a man and a woman having sex while fully nude. Drug use is also strong in places, as characters snort cocaine, as well as drink and smoke to excess. Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, and Cameron Diaz also star, although the latter is sidelined as the nagging bride-to-be. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This starry dark comedy from 1998 has largely been forgotten, thanks to all the big names involved having far stronger work on their respective resumes. Imagine The Hangover, with Patrick Bateman from American Psycho as the best man, and you're halfway to picturing what Very Bad Things amounts to. Only instead of jokes, it's mostly grown men squabbling for 100 minutes. Agitated and animated performances from all of Slater, Jon Favreau, and Jeremy Piven are not enough to steer the story out of repeating itself with diminishing returns after a decent setup. Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz is sidelined as little more than a nagging, one-note bride to be, dating the material further. It's a plodding misstep from writer and director Peter Berg, who appears to be trying to satirize … something here. But when you've got Tarantino and the Coens doing wild, bloody violence with memorable dialogue in the same era, it's easy to see why Very Bad Things is regarded as a pretty poor movie in comparison.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.