A movie in a movie by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who displays his usual strengths -- zest, humor, visual beauty -- and weaknesses, including the failure to acknowledge the gravity of his subject. A young actor (Gael García Bernal) appears at the home of a childhood friend, now a film director (Fele Martinez), with a manuscript. The director reads the manuscript and discovers that it tells the tale of the two men as boys, at school, where they fell in love. But the actor is not what he seems, and a tale of sexual abuse by a priest morphs into a twisted plot of identity deception and manipulation. Bad Education sees itself as noir, but the material knows better, persisting in emotional depth despite the stylized trappings foisted upon it. The movie begins as a comedy, morphs into drama, and only belatedly introduces its noirish subterfuge, cunning, and death -- none of which is necessary or welcome. There is a great deal of life in Bad Education, and also promise, but its creepy ending betrays its emotional core.