A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while Behaving Badly -- a raunchy comedy with lots of shock humor -- centers on a high-school-aged protagonist, it's not appropriate for teens. There's tons of sexual content, including topless strippers, casual sex, relations between an adult woman and a teen boy, and references to masturbation, oral sex, orgasm, prostitution, and adultery. Constant strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and much more, and there's casual and excessive substance use and abuse, including an alcoholic mother who attempts suicide and teens and adults who use Ecstasy. Despite starring teen-friendly actors like Selena Gomez and Nat Wolff, this is definitely an adults-only comedy (assuming any are actually interested).
What's the story?
Rick Stevens (Nat Wolff) is in love with classmate Nina Pennington (Selena Gomez), but he stupidly makes a $1000 bet that he can bed her in a matter of two weeks. As he attempts to woo Nina, who has a possessive ex-boyfriend, Rick is drawn into an unwise sexual relationship with his best friend's mom (also his mom's best friend), Mrs. Bender (Elisabeth Shue), and deals with his dysfunctional family: his alcoholic, pill-popping mother (Mary-Louise Parker), his sex-addict father (Cary Elwes), and his Stanford-bound stripper of a sister (Ashley Rickards). With help from his dim-witted best friend, Billy (Lachlan Buchanan), Rick tries to sort out pursuing Nina and dodging Mrs. Bender's demands.
Is it any good?
Writer-director Tim Garrick's feature debut isn't anything new, envelope-pushing, or even funny. It's an hour and a half of wishing the cast had chosen a better film project. Let's remember Wolff for his fabulous performance as Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars, not this ridiculous role that's sure to add nothing to his career.
While some edgy comedies manage to rise above their crude jokes and graphic sexual content to at least have a compelling story (The To-Do List) or hilarious performances (This Is the End), this raunchy teen tale is a big disappointment and a surprising waste of the talented cast. There are no redeeming qualities to the production, even though it clearly seeks to be one of those "shocking" comedies that revels in the amount of sex and drug-fueled shenanigans the characters get up to, like losing it to your best friend's hot mom or accepting free sexual favors from a dodgy stripper.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of sex and substance use in Behaving Badly. Are there any realistic consequences for all of the questionable behavior here? What message does that send?
Do you think celebrities who start out acting in kids' programming have a responsibility to be careful with their career choices? Why do you think young actors are so keen to distance themselves from their "child star" pasts?
Who's the target audience of this movie? How can you tell?
- In theaters: August 1, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: October 28, 2014
- Cast: Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker
- Director: Tim Garrick
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nudity, and drug material
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.