The To Do List Reviews
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".
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.
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
of great actors. I was very happy to see Donald Glover plays a part in this movie.
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.