I almost liked the To Do List, despite having an aversion towards the monotonous comedic style (if you can call it that) of
“Parks and Recreation”). Though it seemed that the ending was heading towards
the typical coming-of-age lessons that are synonymous with the sex comedy over
the past three decades, I was mildly amused. Then the filmmaker threw a different message into the ending, leaving me with a disgusted feeling about
everything I had watched. Without giving too much of the pointlessly degrading
film away, it should be known that the message of the film is that all
teenagers should understand that sex is just sex, which is not serious or
complicated in the least. It is the feelings that are complicated, so just make
sure to have sex without caring about the person and you will be great! If
these statements anger you in the least, the flippancy of The To Do List will
be unbearable to endure. Aubrey
The vulgarity of The To Do List may have been forgivable had the film accomplished its main goal, but I did not catch myself laughing once during this supposed comedy. My biggest issue with Plaza is her inability to hide her reactions underneath her performance. Whenever saying a line or doing something that is meant to deliver a laugh, Plaza has a noticeable smirk that always seems just below the surface as if anticipating the laughs that she will achieve. Those laughs never came. Fortunately, this is an ensemble cast, and there are many other actors to depend on for failed jokes.
The premise for the film is original, though the writers seem to have stopped there. During the summer after her senior year in 1993, Brandy Klark (Plaza) decides that she wants to go from never having been kissed to becoming sexually experienced. Since it is the age before internet accessibility, much of the humor comes from the ignorance with which Brandy approaches experimentation. She was valedictorian and approaches the subject in the only way she knows how, with research. This means a variety of different partners trying every sexual act and position that she has ever heard in passing, and allows for the ensemble in the cast. The highlight is Bill Hader as Brandy’s boss at a local pool, and the only guy in the film not related or performing a sexual act on Brandy.
The Blu-ray includes a gag reel and a montage of foul words from the film. There are also several deleted and extended scenes, a featurette about director Maggie Carey, whose biographical elements within the storyline may explain why this film is so unabashedly without moral center. I don’t normally quote other critics in my reviews, but Mike LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said it better than I ever could: “The To Do List is a romantic comedy with no romance and little comedy, but with an ugliness of spirit that’s surprising and relentless.” There is also a commentary track with Carey and Hader.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance: 5/10
Disc Features: 6/10