Robert Boyd - Christian Slater (Heathers, Pump Up The Volume)
Laura - Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary, The Mask))
Kyle - Jon Favreau (Swingers, Armageddon)
Michael Berkow - Jeremy Piven (Grosse Point Blank, TV's Ellen)
Lois Berkow - Jeanne Tripplehorn (Basic Instinct, Waterworld, Til There Was You)
Adam Berkow - Daniel Stern (Diner, City Slickers, )
Director: Peter Berg (star of TV's Chicago Hope, also Aspen Extreme, Last Seduction)
Previews: Patch Adams, Austin Powers:The Spy Who Shagged Me
Once again, the "dark comedy" has reared it's socially unacceptable head. Honestly though, I think that the genre is sufering a bit. The appeal of these movies has always been the effortless and natural way that they look at the reality of things in life, rather than sugar-coating, as most movies do. These movies were brutally honest, and real, without really trying to be. They showed that side of life that most of us shove under the carpet, and pretend is not there, but that we know really is. Nowadays, filmmakers have realized the appeal of these movies, and have set out, in advance to make them. In essence, trying to hard to be edgy, dark, off-center, and in most cases, it just doesn't work that way. This type of movie comes out of the nonchalantness to which reality is presented, and the darkness that occurs in its telling.
The premise of the movie was promising. Five guys, on a bachelor party "bad-thing" binge to Vegas, make one slip, the murder of a prostitute, and security guard, which snowballs into another, and pretty soon, an ugly little predicament has presented itself. At this point, the movie had an importatan decision to make. Delve deeper into the characters, and the effects on each one, or raise the level of gore, and disgust, with little regard to the characters. The latter was chosen, and thus causes a degradation, with moments of realization, justification, panic, and fear, thrown in between the body count.
The performances are for the most part faceless, and stereotypical. Stern, as the hyper panicky one, Piven as the nervous, guilt-ridden one, Favreau as the "lets just do what we have to to make this go away" ambivolent one, and Leland Urser, as...well, I'm not sure of his purpose, the wild silent, brooding one?. Who knows. The standout, and only reason for me to even mildly recommend this, is Slater. He has regained his deliciously controlling, and maniacal presence, first born in Heathers, and shown again in Pump Up The Volume. He is a walking, talking volcano, spouting self-help mantras, pacing around like Patton at times, in control outside, but helter-skelter inside. A wonderful combination of JD, and Happy Harry. It's just a shame that he was not given a better movie to give this performance in.
The only scene of any redemption for me, one, that if its mood had been adopted throughout, might have saved this movie, is a sequence copied again from Reservoir Dogs, of the men gathering "clean up" supplies, then gruesomely playing a game of mix-and-match while disposing of the bodies in the desert. The tone was dark, I laughed nervously, and for a moment, saw potential. But once the party left Vegas, the plot of the movie went with it. The story careens then towards a sloppy, confusing conclusion, leaving you wanting more, and wondering what could've been.
This movie bills itself as a dark comedy. Well, dark, yes...but a comedy? I honestly do not want to know any of the people whose sense of humor this appeals to. It would make me very afraid to walk out of my house without eyes in the back of my head. The only laughter that I can see from this movie, would be that of the nervousness that these people might really be out there wandering around in my world. Basically, Mr Berg has shown that he does indeed have a twisted side to his brain, and some pretty original and spooky ideas bouncing around in there. Unfortunately, he gets caught up in trying to make these ideas scary to our psyche, instead of letting the reality of them sink in. Too much gore, not enough thought, not enough psychological repurcussions which the idea of this movie hinted at. Applause to the filmakers for trying to do something original though, a misguided, but well-intended shot at livening up the dull slate of cliches and remakes. Next time though, more thought, less blood.
To take a page from Slater's speech in the movie "Take away the blood, the gore, the shock value, the shallow cliched characters, and what are you left with?, unfortunately, nothing, because that is all this movie has. I never once was provoked into deep thought about the meaning of what was happening, the reality of things. I was mostly just disgusted, and appalled, that someone saw this movie, and thought "Hey, now that's comedy". This movie should be a crossroads for filmmakers trying to make the next "hip" edgy comedy. Less effort, less shock, more reality, for that, in its own form, can be the scariest thing of all. ($$)
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