Bad movies are a dime a dozen these days. Studios tend to churn out absolute garbage in the hopes of appeasing wide audiences. Unfortunately, these absentminded studio executives take tired and recycled plots, repackage them, hire poor excuses for writers, and spotlight some attractive, young actors. Throw in some well-known performers to add a touch of “class” to the production and off they go. Behaving Badly is one such example and it is a movie so bad, that it is an insult to the good name of filmmaking.
Behaving Badly focuses on slightly awkward teen Rick Stevens, a young man who exists in a situation that is truly beyond his control. He is played with just the right amount dysfunction by Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars, Stuck in Love). Rick’s home life is far from perfect; with an alcoholic mother played scarily well by Mary-Louise Parker. His bestfriend’s mom is a cougar played with bizarre sexuality by Elisabeth Shue. With all of these distractions, Rick’s main mission in high school life is to wow the school’s all-around “It Girl” Nina Pennington, played by the adorable Selena Gomez. Along the way to winning her heart, Rick must endure some truly twisted characters and rather precarious and unfortunate situations.
Movies like Behaving Badly have been crapped out of the Hollywood machine since the late 1990s. In a lame attempt to duplicate the success of American Pie, films that are raunchy, contain nudity, and place confused teens in even more confusing situations reign supreme. Sadly, originality is thrown out the window and what the viewer gets is a sad and sorry excuse for entertainment. To call Behaving Badly a “film” is an insult to quality works put on celluloid.
The only redeeming quality of Behaving Badly is the completely random smattering of supporting cast members. Elisabeth Shue is delightfully sexy as the MILF after our main character. I wonder if she channeled her Leaving Las Vegas hooker mentality, hmm… Dylan McDermott plays a slimy strip club proprietor. Heather Graham struts her stuff as a way too sexy-looking lawyer. Cary Elwes portrays Rick’s disgruntled and very perverted father. Patrick Warburton is way underused as the school principal and Jason Lee could have also gotten more screen time as the town’s highly questionable priest.
With such a strong supporting cast and a fairly decent premise, it is a damn shame that Behaving Badly didn’t turn out better. Instead of focusing on making the script stronger and more humorous, the filmmakers opted for gross-out gags and repetitive sex jokes. Mary-Louise Parker is the only actress who gets an adequate amount of screen time. Nat Wolff is alright as the film’s protagonist but after a while, his character becomes very annoying and unsympathetic. Selena Gomez does her absolute best in the film but even her cute innocence can’t save Behaving Badly. Sex comedies come and go and Behaving Badly will end up as a late night alternative when you have nothing better to watch on Netflix. Do yourselves a favor and skip this mess.