Thanks in large part to the great diversity of American culture and its assimilation over the past decades, high school students do not follow the same conventions that their parents did thirty years ago. Back then, you rarely saw a jock dating a rebel or a mastermind dating a stoner. But today anything is possible, even for an overweight lovable clown and a scrawny, uncomfortable nerd. Seth and Evan from Very bad show the homeless everywhere that they can score the girl, provided they are willing to risk jail time in the process.
Very bad introduces the audience to the two protagonists of the first scene. Seth and Evan are less than three weeks away from high school graduation, a glorious summer, and finally their freshman year of college. Their explicit discussion of which porn sites they will subscribe to in college elicits uproarious laughter in the first five minutes of the film. Viewers soon learn that Evan and Seth entered different colleges and that they will not be sleeping together as they had always planned. Seth drives Evan to school, where they park in the teacher’s parking lot and head to a convenience store where they discuss their respective love interests with whom the audience later meets.
Once outside the store, a standard high school bully confronts them. This guy (for lack of a better word) has a long mullet and hideous glasses, yet he’s tall and wide and he spits at Seth while telling him he’s not invited to his big prom. Seth doesn’t stand up for himself and tries to blame Evan for not “turning his back” on the situation so that he doesn’t have to feel like an easy target. At school, viewers are introduced to girls from children’s dreams – Becca and Jules. They find out that Jules’ parents are missing and that she is having a big party that night. Fortunately, a pitiful third friend named Fogell comes to class and informs them that he is going to receive a fake ID during lunchtime. Seth promises Jules that he will provide alcohol for his party, and so the drama (and laughter) begins.
Very bad it has its roots in many of the various historical periods of American motion picture comedy. The Screwball and Slapstick comedies lead to Screwball’s Slapstick, which is definitely represented in the scene during Home Economics class. Seth and Jules pair up to make tiramisu, as do Evan and another classmate. Seth plays the Screwball Slapstick comedy when Jules turns his back on him, mimicking sexual intercourse with a wire whisk and two eggs while shoving the poor girl while she’s worried and not looking. Evan and his partner perform a more classic Slapstick routine; they use flour to give themselves whiskers and then lick their hands like cats. They also use physical comedy when helping each other with their aprons and during the rest of the scene. The pantomime between Evan and his partner is completely non-sexual, while the physical comedy between Seth and Jules is definitely sexually charged.
Very bad It can also be classified with the Animal Comedies, which have dominated adolescent culture for the past two and a half decades. Belton says that “an interest in adolescent sexuality, graphic rudeness, and a comic celebration of vulgarity in general” is what characterizes these films (p. 197). Very bad you surely have a keen interest in adolescent sexuality. After all, Seth and Evan are virgins with less than 3 weeks until graduation and less than 3 months until college. Seth puts it quite eloquently when he says, “We don’t want girls to think we suck dick in a fucking pussy.” In fact, they are so difficult that, just a few scenes later, Seth proclaims, “You know when you hear the girls say ‘Ah man, I was so shitty face last night, I shouldn’t have fucked that guy?’ We could be that mistake! “The movie also shows its fair share of graphic rudeness, with Becca vomiting all over the bed she and Evan were about to have sex on. Ultimately, the entire movie is basically a comic celebration of vulgarity. Seth tells Evan that he is jealous that he sucked his mother’s breasts when he was a baby for crying out loud!
Director Greg Mottola, along with writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, use Very bad as a way to address many underlying problems that adolescents have faced over the past decade. As Belton explained, American motion picture comedy is often an expression of racy themes that our culture tries to suppress. For example, the creators of Very bad decided to make the cops dumb. This is their way of saying that they feel our justice system is corrupt (as many young people do) without coming out to say so. Another example is the way Evan and Seth are too afraid of appearing gay to tell each other that they will miss each other while in college. It takes a lot of alcohol for them to finally open up to each other. The filmmakers use this scene to show how young men are expected to be indifferent and masculine 100% of the time if they don’t want their sexuality questioned.
Racism is another hot topic from the creators of Very bad play on your movie. They scoff at the fact that some people still attach so much importance to race, in a culture that has come so far from segregation and now includes so much diversity through a scene at the liquor store. The employee who was on duty when Fogell is beaten and the record stolen is African American. She has a good education and we learn that she is a graduate student, but the police officers still give her a hard time. This is also partly due to the fact that they are trying to portray the cops as idiots, but they don’t even know how to refer to their ethnicity. She finally tells them that he was a Caucasian 5’10 “so, while they still act like they don’t know what she’s talking about, she storms off. This scene could also be interpreted as about the often unfair treatment of women. , even educated, in the modern era.
At the end of the day, Very bad is a perfect example of a modern American motion picture comedy. It can make entire audiences cry with laughter, while also tackling some serious issues about teens today. Safe and consensual sex is promoted at a time when rates of rape and teenage pregnancy are higher than ever. Seth and Evan are two comedy heroes that I think will be remembered for a long time; thanks in large part to the genius of comedy and first-hand experience possessed by the young creators of this film.