Lately, I've been doing some serious crushing on former Disney star Selena Gomez (as well as a few other post-teen hotties from the same network as well as Nickelodeon,but I won't get into them).Despite the fact that she has poor taste in particular boyfriends,she's definitely talented and quite a looker. But one wonders whether she'll be as popular 5 yrs from now or drop off the face of the earth.you can only go by her singing career(which will likely fizzle out because Disney-based pop has n't much of a shelf-life)and a fledgling acting career.Some advice to Ms. Gomez,rise above the material,cuz whether she likes it or not,she's the main reason for even giving 'Behaving Badly' a second glance.
High schooler Rick Stevens(Wolff)narrates the tale(Ferris Bueller- style)of how he won the heart of his true love Nina Pennington(Gomez)and along the way conquers a pill-popping',Vodka swilling mother(Mary-Louise Parker),stripper older sister(Ashley Rickards),estranged and adulterous father(Cary Elwes),seductress mother(Elizabeth Shue)of his slightly unhinged best bud Billy(Buchanan),vindictive ex(Stowell)of said true love,as well a pervy priest(Jason Lee),pervier principal(Patrick Warburton),shifty attorney(Heather Graham)and down-right sleazy strip club boss(a rare comedic performance by Dylan McDermott)who probably runs the same seedy establishment where his sister part-times.
The film is pretty predictable,since it seems to use cliché's from teen sex comedies of yesteryear,including a ludicrous wager(on how long it takes 'til he beds Nina) Rick makes with a fellow classmate who happens to be the son of a Lithuanian mobster(a plot device i felt superfluous and closely similar to 'American Pie').But this should have been more successful,considering the attractive supporting cast alone.But 'Behaving Badly'does n't quite cut it and IMAO,here's why:Nat Wolff,the obvious protagonist,has the charisma of a wire hanger,after you twist it to snake out your clogged drain.This flick falls in line with previous duds 'Bandslam' and 'I Love You,Beth Cooper',which despite featuring the eye candy of ingénues Vanessa Hudgens(Selena's 'Spring Breakers' co-star)and Hayden Panettiere respectively,had male leads that never endeared you to the story.Wolff comes across rather smug,so it's hard to sympathize with his character and you don't see why Gomez's character would be interested in him(especially when he fails to deliver on backstage passes to the Josh Groban concert).I'll admit that this movie is more enjoyable than the previously mentioned 'Bandslam' and 'Beth Cooper',but at least those two flicks had theatrical releases while this movie,already delayed by nearly 2 yrs,got an iTunes release this month.I think that guy McLovin,from 'Superbad' would have been a better choice for the role of Rick.
As for the rest of the cast,they really shine in their roles and wind up stealing scenes-the adults in particular.You never really buy the Rick/Nina romance so it would've been better served to explore his relationship with his long-suffering mum(Parker also moonlights as Rick's guardian angel(?)of sorts,another subplot that does n't quite work)or his sultry sister,who invites her stripper friends over to the crib in a sequence that reminds me of 'Risky Business'.Going back to Gomez,she's not a terrible actress,as others have described her,but in this particular movie she seems un-enthused,not having the 'just go with it' approach as the more established actors like Parker,Lee,Elwes,McDermott,and Graham.I really wished that at any minute she would've seized the opportunity to steal this movie away from Wolff,but it never quite happened.
Based on the Ric Browde's 2000 novel titled "While I'm Dead,Feed the Dog"(which should've been the title for the film-a cryptic note scrawled by Billy's mom after a failed suicide attempt sends her to the hospital)and adequately directed by Tim Garrick,'Behaving Badly'is not for the faint of heart(as in pre-pubescent fans of Gomez's Disney show 'Wizards of Waverly Place'),it really earns its R-rating.But it never gets to the degree of recent The Asylum releases(yes there is nudity and no-Selena does n't disrobe but she does call Rick a 'motherfucker'which considering his affair with the milfy Shue,is quite appropriate).It is the supporting cast that saves this flick from being a total loss,so it's slightly above average and though you won't be laughing hysterically throughout,the film has its moments,mostly provided by McDermott and a few involving Lachlan Buchanan.Most film pundits would already consider this a failure because of its aforementioned failure to obtain a theatrical release and a desire to prove Gomez an overrated no- talent(I think it's her punk-ass on-again,hopefully off-again Canadian bff who deserves that title;he actually makes a blink-and you'll miss him cameo in the jail scene.Remember,this was filmed in 2012,when the 2 were very much an item).But I must remind you that Selena is not the actually star or main focus of this picture,so don't blame her if you're disappointed,believe me,you could do worse(did I mention The Asylum teen sex comedies?).Selena is gorgeous in this,but almost every actress is attractive in this(Graham and Shue are especially tantalizing),even the background strippers.So if you like Selena,rent this off Netflix or iTunes and hopefully she'll take my advice for her future film endeavors:Rise above the script and go for it!!