Review: 'Behaving Badly' Starring Selena Gomez and Nat Wolff

A number of really talented people make appearances in the wretchedly unfunny teen sex comedy Behaving Badly; so many that you wonder if a producer has incriminating photos stashed somewhere. Not that there are a lot of expectations for a film so obscure even Selena Gomez's fans don't know it exists, and likely won't have a kind word to say about it even if they do. It's the kind of film where one can sense writer/director Tim Garrick throwing in every half-assed idea he can think of in hopes something works, but when nothing does turning up the raunch is his only fall-back plan.

Nat Wolff, who was excellent as a blind cancer victim in The Fault in Our Stars, must've been blind to agree to this humorless farce that wants to be outrageous and risque but comes up limp. Wolff plays Rick, and in the opening moments we get close-up of his crotch followed by the admission he has somehow contracted crabs. Yep, that's the level of moronic humor that is quickly established and becomes the standard throughout a painful 96 minutes. So what's Rick's deal? He's supposedly a virgin but that's not really a big deal because every hot piece of tail is throwing it his way. That includes his best friend's frisky mom (Elisabeth Shue), a smokin' drug-addled lawyer (Heather Graham), and random prostitutes. His mother (Mary Louise Parker) is a raging drunk, but she also appears as some sort of dominatrix-clad guardian angel. What that's all about is unclear and pointless to the "plot" anyway.

But for all the sex Rick can get he really has eyes for one girl, the saintly Nina (Gomez) who he has had a thing for all his life. She's the model of goodie two-shoes perfection and wholesomeness, certainly too nice for an awkward sex fiend like Rick. Of course she takes a liking to him, anyway, even as he gets neck deep in trouble with the local Mafia. Why's the Mafia in this? You got me. But then again there's not much explanation for Jason Lee appearing as a priest of suspect morals, or Dylan McDermott as a sex-crazed strip club owner. Notice a theme here? Sexual perversion has never seemed so tame, and as Garrick piles on one "outrageous" situation after another it only gets more desperate.

Not helping matters is a completely uninspiring performance by Wolff, and it's hard to tell if he's just bored or terribly miscast. Ultimately it doesn't matter, does it? He actually makes things considerably worse and every scene he's at the center of more painful than the last. Gomez is kind of fun in a squeaky clean misplaced Disney starlet sort of way (kind of like Spring Breakers), but that seems to be the only role she's capable of playing. And I have to admit getting a chuckle from Shue's endless flaunting of her rack, reminding me of her unsung performance in the trashy crime flick, Palmetto. But those are hardly enough reason to suffer through a movie this lazy and lacking in any laughs.  Those who don't run away screaming from Behaving Badly after 10 minutes will spot a brief cameo by Justin Bieber. What drags him into a movie like this? It was shot more than two years ago back when he and Gomez were still a tabloid item. Can't imagine why this has been sitting on the shelf for so long...
 Rating: 1 out of 5