The To Do List - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The To Do List Reviews

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½ May 20, 2015
"The To Do List" (R, 1:44) is a raunchy comedy from first-time writer/director Maggie Carey, who loosely based the movie on her real-life experiences. The film stars the very talented Aubrey Plaza ("Parks and Recreation") as Brandy Klark, a brilliant high school graduate who becomes convinced that she has to prepare for college by having all the sexual experiences that her commitment to studying and her social awkwardness have not allowed for. Her sister (played by Rachel Bilson from the CW series "Hart of Dixie") and Brandy's two sexually experienced besties (Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele) encourage her, and Brandy gets to work. She approaches her problem as if she's preparing to take the SATs - in another language. She makes a list of sexual experiences and methodically works her way down the list with a variety of guys from her graduating class. It's an interesting set-up with potential for some very naughty humor, but I found the film lacking in execution.

There are a number of things in this movie that just don't make sense. How could such a smart girl be so clueless about sex? (Inexperienced, yes, but totally ignorant?) Why would two experienced, socially well-adjusted girls be best friends with the arrogant, closed-off Brandy? And how could Brandy, who had barely kissed a boy before graduating high school, so quickly and easily embrace her inner slut? I could go on. This film just becomes a series of awkward and disgusting moments that are supposed to make us laugh, but left me just feeling....dirty. Now, "The To Do List" does have its funny moments, but there would have been more if Carey had shown just a little more restraint. Often, sexual situations in a comedy are funniest when more is left to the imagination. It's both surprising and disappointing that the director would let these gags go farther than they needed to, because otherwise she managed her cast extremely well!

The supporting players are a Who's Who of NBC's best actors, but they all play against type. These stars of NBC sitcoms (including Donald Glover from "Community", Nolan Gould from "Modern Family" and Jack McBrayer from "30 Rock"), Saturday Night Live (Bill Hader and Andy Samberg) and even NBC dramas (Connie Britton and Scott Porter from "Friday Night Lights" and Clark Gregg from "The West Wing") all give effective and entertaining performances without relying on the specific qualities that have made them successful in previous roles. In fact, I can't remember the last time I've seen an ensemble of actors (especially comic actors) so universally separate themselves from their most popular characters. It's too bad that their efforts were not in support of a better script or a funnier movie. I would recommend that you leave "The To Do List" off of your "Movies To See List", something that it's too late for me to do. At this point, all I can do is tell you about this movie's few strengths, many weaknesses and give the film a "C".
May 3, 2015
well....I think this is pretty damn funny.
April 25, 2015
A pretty funny funny movie. It was raunchy, but not as much as I thought it would be.
½ April 17, 2015
All-star cast, very funny. Shawkat adds another graduation to her resume. Hader's wife wrote this about herself, and keeps it in the 90's.
April 12, 2015
Let down by poor editing/directing. Not exactly the best use of Aubrey Plaza.
½ April 11, 2015
Mildly enjoyable throughout, Plaza and Bilson in particular deliver the laughs.
March 29, 2015
I love this film! I could not stop laughing!
March 27, 2015
Clark Greig! enough said.... :)
½ March 17, 2015
A refreshing mix of raunch and coming of age that somehow reminds me of Fast Times. Not to mention Hader's performance was wonderful as per usual.
½ March 15, 2015
3/14/2015: An ok movie. Some pretty funny parts, but the acting wasn't great.
½ March 7, 2015
HAHAHA!! Aubrey Aubrey Aubrey.. :D
March 7, 2015
Quickie Rant Review

I have heard some people saying that this movie is a "Feminist\Female Empowerment" comedy. First off, it's not a comedy. It would have to be funny to qualify. Secondly, "Female Empowerment"? The main protagonist is a narcissistic sociopath who views other human beings the way everyone else views toilet paper, as usable and disposable. If a man did exactly the same things, said exactly the same things, and had the exact same motivations and emotional detachment concerning what he had done, every woman on earth would say he was a disgusting pig. Making the lead character female doesn't make her actions any less revolting. This movie is a series of awful people using one another and never once treating one another like human beings. If you want funny, go elsewhere, this is just tasteless.
½ March 3, 2015
We need more 90s movies.
February 23, 2015
Aubrey Plaza may have a unique comedic style, but it's not one that I particularly like. I gave her a chance with The To Do List, but less than 5 minutes into the movie I not only thought she was unfunny, but I also realized that she can't act. Her most sincere lines were delivered with such awkwardness and feigner. And even in a film with this level of flippancy you need that genuineness in order to care about the character.

Plaza plays Brandy, a goodie-two-shoes high school graduate who is constantly made fun of for being a virgin. She throws all her morals out the window when she sees a guy that she wishes to sleep with. She then compiles a list of experiences she wants to have to better prepare herself for her rendezvous with this guy.

The To Do List is insensitive and so is everyone in it. No one is nice to each other and everyone is too self-righteous to learn any type of lesson. Throughout her "journey" Brandy learns next-to-nothing. She hurts those closest to her on several occasions and ignores the reasons why after they each confront her. These friends just all end up forgiving her without actually discussing their individual issues with her actions.

Bill Hader can't even save this film. It's unfunny and the dialogue is painfully bad. The only saving grace of this movie is that it takes place in 1993, which provides for a great soundtrack. But with an unappealing cast with an even more unappealing lead I can't recommend this film to even the biggest American Pie fans.

Twizard Rating: 44
February 20, 2015
How could you not like a movie set in the 90's? It's funny and def worth watching at least once. Not to mention there are a lot
of great actors. I was very happy to see Donald Glover plays a part in this movie.
February 17, 2015
el tipo de peliculas que me gustan a mi,muy entretenida,para reirse 8/10
January 29, 2015
What a stupid movie!
January 14, 2015
Not quite the cult classic it aims to be, the capable cast and strong directing stumble over a story that plays it a bit too safe.
½ January 11, 2015
I don't think I've seen a movie with such squandered potential. There are few films out there about female sexuality (comedies no less) and it would be a genuinely interesting and potentially really funny premise. We don't see it from this perspective enough. BUT, The To Do List is tepid on pretty much every level. It's not particularly funny, the jokes are obvious. And some editing choices and performances were just truly bizarre. To me, the worst thing were the characters, namely, their inconsistency. Aubrey Plaza's Brandy is at sometimes endearing and at others insane and completely unsympathetic.

I get the whole "inexperienced, confused teenager" thing they got going and I can even buy her newfound voraciousness concerning hitting sexual milestones...but there were things she said and did that made her seem like she was a different person in every scene. The rest of the characters were pretty much tropes on tropes: the nerdy best friend, the hot airhead dude, the slacker boss, the way ward sister, the conservative Dad etc.

I couldn't say any of them were actually characters at all. There wasn't a single relationship in this film that felt human in the least. Typical of many bad comedies, the people act in ways to get laughs, not develop characters into believable people.

Also, the film inevitably discusses female sexual liberation, but the message is a little muddled. It's just all over the place in that regard and the final message of the film basically comes out of nowhere. It's one of those "tossed in at the end" sort of messages that is just there because, well...there's gotta be a moral, right?

BUT, there were a couple things I liked. The cast is excellent. Plaza (whom I usually dislike) was endearing if confusing. Maybe it's because she didn't play an emotionless robot. You have Donald Glover, Johnny Simmons, Clark Gregg, Rachel Bilson, Bill Hader...all around, a pretty solid cast and some good cameos too.

Why was this set in '93? Who knows. But there's something about a "Summer of '93" movie that just gets me. I loved the fashion, the pop culture references, the technology, the general vibe of the time.
I'm actually relieved to see a raunchy sex comedy that DOESN'T have kids constantly texting or talking about social media or any teen trend of today. It was weirdly refreshing to see it set in the early 90s and I'm a sucker for it.

So all in all, I can't say it was a good movie. And the characters, the general plot, the relationships and even the weird editing are major problems. But, I'd say simply because we have like no mainstream American comedies about female sexuality and losing virginity from that perspective, it's worth a watch. I wish it was better though, but it's passable.
½ January 8, 2015
A hilarious, fun, highly entertaining little movie that was a joy to watch. The performances are great especially from Aubrey Plaza who really shines in her role. I'm going to really be looking forward to see what else she will do in the future, she's a huge talent. The directing and script by Maggie Carrey is solid on both parts. Overall, I had a great time watching this film and I would recommend it, it's really funny.
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