Behaving Badly



Raunchy high school comedy is a big disappointment.
  • Review Date: August 1, 2014
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No perceivable positive messages except the reminder that unprotected sex can lead to sexually transmitted diseases.

Positive role models

Except for Nina, who's book smart but has lousy taste in guys, there aren't any positive role models in the movie. Parents, teachers, principals, and priests are all terrible influences.


There are dead bodies, a mother who attempts suicide, mafia goons who threaten and chase, a fist fight and more. A series of teachers die.


Lots of nudity and sexual material, from extended scenes of topless dancers in a strip club to continued shots of a guy in boxers to discussions and scenes of high school-aged guys masturbating, references to erections, oral sex, anal sex, prison sex, and loss of virginity.


Strong language is used in nearly every scene of the movie and includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," "d--k," "p---y," "douchebags," "Jesus F--king Christ," and "motherf--ker."


Featured brands include cars like Mercedes Benz, Audi, and Aston Martin, plus Apple computers and Stoli Vodka.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Underage teens and adults drink to excess. Mrs. Stevens is an alcoholic and nearly overdoses on pills. Teens and adults take Ecstasy.

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).

Parents say

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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?


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), but 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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 1, 2014
DVD release date:October 28, 2014
Cast:Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker
Director:Tim Garrick
Studio:Vertical Entertainment
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:crude sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nudity, and drug material

This review of Behaving Badly was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byelvirapizza November 5, 2014

Awesome movie.

Yes, it involves drugs. And sex, swearing and violence. No, it isn't gonna make your kids do all of that. I'm 14, and sure, this movie is slightly gross in some parts, but it isn't for 17 and older. Besides, it ends happily. The guy gets his dream girl and they kiss among feathers. His sister gets into college thanks to him. His mother survives her suicide attempt and is (kinda) happy. His best friend ends up as a stripper though. This movie is hilarious for 12-17 years. Selena Gomes was a child star, but you can't blame her for not wanting to be known as the girl from disney. Nat Wolff is hot. 17 and up, really? No. Let kids rate this, you obviously can't.
Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviefan7 November 3, 2014

haven't seen it

i haven't seen it. but look, if you gave your kid the talk, they can watch it. it's perfectly fine for teens. it's what a lot of us do.
Kid, 12 years old June 3, 2015

Love Selena, but kind of disappointing

Normally, Selena Gomez takes roles in highly reviewed movies, but this one was kind of a disappointment. Her character is probably the most modest of them all, but overall, I wouldn't highly recommend this movie. The basic plot is that teenager Rick Stevens, has a crush on Nina Pennington (Selena Gomez). When Rick realizes that Nina broke up with her boyfriend, he makes a bet with a mobster's son that he will have sex with Nina before Arbor Day, leading to a strange chain of events from having sex with his best friend's mom, to having almost the whole town in jail, including Nina. It does have a lot of sexual content, but it's meant to be in a comedic way. Regardless, this movie is the typical high school love/sex story, and it's honestly not worth it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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