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'Very Bad Things'

Fall Movie Preview 1998

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STARRING Cameron Diaz, Jon Favreau, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Leland Orser


When Berg sets out to make a dark comedy, he doesn’t screw around. Starting with a Vegas bachelor party that goes horribly wrong (think Fatty Arbuckle), the Chicago Hope star’s writing/directing feature debut follows a group of buddies down the road to murder, madness, and pre-wedding stress disorder. ”I like taking people who are basically ill equipped to handle violence and trauma and watching them sort of implode,” explains Berg. ”I surprised myself with how far I was able to go with it.” Berg’s script may have gone too far for the studios, which passed on the project even with stars like Diaz, Slater, and, at one time, Adam Sandler attached. Berg financed the film independently, and PolyGram bought it after it was completed. The problem now is, people are going to see it. ”It’s not as if I have conservative parents, but I can’t let my mother see the first 25 minutes of this movie,” says Piven, referring to one of his particularly gruesome early scenes. ”There are some things a mother shouldn’t see her son do.” (Nov. 20)

THE LOWDOWN Buzz has been good, but we wouldn’t advise taking your parents, either.