Wide-eyed Lucy Hale takes her shot at a rom-com wrapped in a sex farce with “A Nice Girl Like You,” whose title gives away the game, and its central failing.
The “Pretty Little Liars” pixie, most recently seen in the not-her-fault bomb “Fantasy Island,” isn’t miscast as a Harvard alumnus/violinist abandoned by her boyfriend because “You’re not into sex.” Hale just can’t make that, or her, funny.
Lucy is a “make a list, do your research” type. She’s distracted during love-making, mentally compiling shopping lists and the like.
“Whole wheat waffles!” she blurts, and not out of passion.
Game-tester and porn-watcher Jeffrey (Stephen Friedrich) is out the door with barely a “Bye, girl.”
Lucy resolves to do her own twelve step program to “solve” her little shortcoming, her “sex ‘to do’ list.”
“Number one, ‘Watch 25 porn films.’ Two, ‘Go to a sex store.'” Visit a strip club, surf internet porn, drop in on a brothel, etc.
Isn’t that adorable?
Other members of her string quartet support this, among them, her fellow violinist, Priscilla. The fact that she’s played by Mindy Cohn (“The Facts of Life”) tells you how edgy all this will be.
Lucy’s misadventures take to a “better sex” class, a TV show hosted by a Phd (Skye P. Marshall) in a negligee who treats “Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder” (SADD) and subjects Lucy to a sex psychic “reading,” a brothel and the other stops on her sex tour.
Oh, here’s a blow-up man doll, “a feminist who doesn’t watch football or fart!”
“None of them do, at first,” long-married Priscilla complains.
The hazards of erection cream and Ben Wa balls are dissected for limp laughs.
All the while, there’s this hunky, stubble-faced Brit (Leonidas Gulaptis) she’s trying to make a love connection with, or at least drag to third base. He’s intrigued by this not-quite-virginal bore on a sex odyssey through “cliterature” and strip clubs.
I got a couple of chuckles out of Lucy’s interactions with bored strippers in a club.
The funniest character is her string-quartet’s cellist, Nessa (Jackie Cruz), sexually forward by her choice of instrument. Ask any lady cellist and they’ll repeat the zingers served up here, how much they enjoy “wood” or something “warm and vibrating” in the place where they hold it and bow it.
Hale has no chemistry with the male leads, which isn’t totally her fault. She can’t make this perky prissy miss’s search for sexual fulfillment funny, which is.
Or would be, if the script, based on a book called “Porn-ol-O-gy” (apparently) had anything fresh, sexy, naughty or remotely funny to say.
As sex farces go, “A Nice Girl Like You” is about as nasty, dirty and funny as a sitcom…on The Disney Channel.
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content throughout and language
Cast: Lucy Hale, Leonidas Gulaptis, Jackie Cruz, Stephen Friedrich and Mindy Cohn.
Running time: 1:34