Behaving Badly (R)

Comedy 98 August 1, 2014
By Sherrie Li
Behaving Badly tries too hard to be stupid funny, ending up being more stupid than funny. An adaptation of Ric Browde's While I'm Dead...Feed the Dog, the film follows high school teen Rick Stevens (Nat Wolff) pulling out all the stops -- and getting into the most ridiculous of situations -- all, of course, in pursuit of a girl, Nina Pennington (Selena Gomez). In addition to his own raging libido -- a trait shared by 99 percent of the characters -- his mission to "plow" Nina, a wannabe female priest, is also motivated by a $1,000 bet made to a mobster's son. As if the bizarre specifics mentioned so far weren't enough, there is also Rick's Valley girl–speaking stripper sister, who somehow got into Stanford; Rick's slow best friend with a penchant for masturbating to the Human Sexuality textbook; the not-so-saintly priest, who's the head of a mafia; the alcoholic mother, who doubles as Rick's vision of the skintight leather–and–plunging neckline–sporting "patron saint of teenagers"; and a string of foreign language teachers, who all spontaneously die. The casting is impressive yet suspect -- almost as though the filmmakers had hoped the barrage of familiar faces (Cary Elwes, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Heather Graham, Dylan McDermott, Jason Lee, etc.) and the positive association of these actors' past works would distract us from the fact that the book's storyline has been butchered into absolute nonsense. Sadly, Wolff's bland and insincere delivery as our narrator and our tour guide through the insane shenanigans fails to capture the book's sarcastic sense of humor. By the end, we had to wonder why these otherwise talented actors signed up for this project in the first place.
Tim Garrick Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Dylan McDermott, Heather Graham, Ashley Rickards, Cary Elwes, Patrick Warburton, Jason Lee Tim Garrick, Scott Russell Andrew Lazar, Miri Yoon Vertical Entertainment

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