“Bad Habits” is a short about, well, bad habits. Whether they be drugs or sex with underage girls they’re bad and this movie wants to make sure you know that. In fact, “Bad Habits” comes off a bit like an after school special, which unfortunately makes it harder to take seriously.
We start at the end. Yes, this is yet another unnecessarily non-linear movie, an editing technique that is used more often to mask a shallow story than it is to compliment the plot. A man and a young woman are sitting in a car and the man is going on about why he likes to manipulate and have sex with young girls, as if he could justify it. After his little speech he tries to force himself on the girl but is interrupted by a young man with a gun.
We then go back in time to learn that the young man is Brian, a drug addict fresh out of juvie. The girl is his girlfriend and the perv turns out to be Brian’s social worker, a guy that uses his position to lure misguided children into his bed. We also meet Brian’s best friend, a drug dealer with a penchant for poetry. The movie tells the story of one day in these people’s lives and how they got themselves in situations that lead to the film’s final confrontation.
The acting is pretty solid all around, with each actor getting a chance to shine while telling their individual stories, and the dialogue is fairly believable but the movie never shakes the feeling that it’s something that might be shown to high school students as part of a drug awareness program. Everything is just a bit too over the top and melodramatic to really push the message home. Look out kids, this could happen to you. As a Public Service Announcement the movie is a success but it falls a bit short as a dramatic endeavor.
Drugs are bad, ok. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.