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Selena Gomez is the epitome of a good girl in the “raunchy” teen flick Behaving Badly, made by a bunch of idiots and starring some sad saps. It has the stereotypical plot-line films of this genre tend to have: boy likes girl, girl is too good for him, boy tries to win her over but stuff gets in the way, boy finally wins her over and is a better person for it. Unlike memorable teen films that have this sort of plot, Behaving Badly executes this storyline with zero charm, zero hilarity, and a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Glitter has a higher rating than this film. That says something. Namely that Glitter is extremely underrated. Is that just me?
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Anyways, I decided to watch this sh*t-storm of a film because I am a good person and you should thank me endlessly for spending my real goddamn American dollars on such a travesty so you don’t have to. I suffer for you. You know who else did that? Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve compared myself to Jesus Christ, just sayin’. I managed to find a theater in Los Angeles still selling tickets for it. There were only two showtimes, so I picked the second and as soon as I told the box office teenager that I wanted one ticket for Behaving Badly, an immediate sadness came over me. The teen working that box office stared at me like I wasn’t speaking his language. “Behaving Badly, at 3?” He stared at the computer a bit longer. “Oh, that.” His emphasis on “that” made me feel worse.
Inside the theater was me and one other person – an older, balding gentleman. I have a feeling he was there to see Selena Gomez, who, by the way, still looks like she is 15-years-old. It’s her face. Her face has not aged since Wizards of Waverly Place. Any person over the age of 17 that finds her sexually attractive needs to keep that to themselves. Maybe even seek help.
The film opens with the main character, Rick (Nat Wolff), talking directly into the camera about what a predicament he is in. He lists things like his best friend being in jail and how he has crabs. I guess we’re supposed to be like, “What the heck? How did he get himself into this mess? This is unlike any experience I had as a teenager!” Fast forward a few minutes, and his mother (Mary-Louise Parker) has just committed suicide. From here, the film back tracks to how this all got started. He’s still talking to us, the audience, as if we are his friend. In the back track we learn some other fun facts about his family: his sister (still in high school) is a stripper, he has a big brother, his dad sucks, and he has been having sex with his best friend’s mom. He also works for the manager of the strip club his sister works at. The manager (Dylan McDermott) is a sleaze. Whoddathunk? This Rick guy is in love with Nina Pennington (Selena Gomez), but accepts a blowjob from a stripper, which doesn’t last long because he’s a horny teenage boy. He is also seduced, again, by his best friend’s mom (Elisabeth Shue), and they have sex. Nina is a proper Christian girl who would never even think of doing anything as god-awful and disgusting as sexual intercourse.
So from there the plot gets weird and confusing. Something goes on with the Lithuanian mafia, Jason Lee is a priest, Rick gets visited by a “Patron Saint of Teenagers” (Mary-Louise Parker, again) who is supposed to help him win Nina’s heart, Rick catches his dad in a threeway, Nina wants to go to a Josh Groban concert, and Rick throws a party. The party lands him, his sister, Nina, and his best friend in jail. Heather Graham is a promiscuous lawyer who gets all of them out, except for the best friend. Rick made Nina mad, so to win her back he makes it his goal to fix everyone’s life. He helps get his sister into Stanford, so she can stop stripping. His alcoholic mom, as it turns out, has not died. She is alive, and is finally going to divorce Rick’s awful dad. Rick’s older brother comes out as gay, and Rick’s best friend gets released and eventually becomes a male stripper. Nina, upon seeing the new and improved Rick, kisses him and doesn’t want to be a priest anymore. By the way, she wanted to be a priest.
Honestly, nothing made sense. I dozed off a few times, got sidetracked by Twitter notifications, and even got to contemplating the positives of death. Because of this, I can’t remember at all what the Lithuanian mafia had to do with anything. I don’t even know why they were Lithuanian. Was that supposed to be a joke? Jason Lee’s purpose was lost on me, too. As was the “Patron Saint of Teenagers,” who did almost nothing to further the plot. A lot of the gags in this film were supposed to be akin to the gags in American Pie or something like that. Every woman in this film was the “whore” to Selena’s “Madonna.” At one point, McDermott’s character attempts to rape Shue’s character, who squeezes his balls extremely hard, and he of course loves it. He ends up shouting, “Squeeze ’em like they’re Filipino children,” which manages to be both nonsensical and racist at the same time. No one was appealing, except for maybe Rick’s best friend, who in the end we find out is having sex with Rick’s mom. Uh oh! As soon as that is revealed, the credits roll. Sequel, perhaps?
Honestly, it’s hard for me to hate a movie. Even when I do hate it, I find something good about it. Something that makes me defend it in some small way. With Behaving Badly, there was nothing. It just made me sad and angry. I was sad for everyone involved, and angry towards Tim Garrick (writer and director) who, in my opinion, should be punished for his crimes. It’s official, the genre of “R-rated teen comedy” is dead. How can it be revived? Do we need a Franco to save us? Maybe, another American Pie, regardless of them being in their 40s? How about we stop having men be the center of these films? The way I see it, the last teen comedy to really be well-liked across the board was Mean Girls. How about we make an R-rated Mean Girls, that shows some dick as much as it shows boobs? Women can have some depth, and the plot doesn’t have to entirely be “Dude, we need to get laid!”. Am I asking too much? Will society as we know it implode on itself? Will this radical idea bring about World War III, or some sort of zombie apocalypse? God, I hope so!