Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The To Do List

Quirky, coming-of-age movies are undoubtedly my favorite of all of the many types of movies that exist in this world. Last year, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was my favorite film of the year, furthering my love for coming-of-age tales. Maybe it's because of my place in life? Maybe it's because of the brand of humor? Maybe it's because the movies are just so great? Who knows?!? Luckily for me, there are many coming-of-age films coming out in 2013, from The Kings of Summer to The Way, Way Back to The To Do List, and I can't wait to watch each of them. Of those three films, The To Do List was the one that I was least excited about, probably due to the fact that it is a female tale. Nevertheless, I was still quite excited, and, while the other two have yet to make it to my neck of the woods, The To Do List became the first coming-of-age tale for me to knock off of my watchlist in 2013. The biggest concern I had with the film was my own accepting of Aubrey Plaza as an 18 year old (she's really 29). However, I loved Plaza in 2012's Safety Not Guaranteed, so I was willing to attempt to overlook her age difference...
While I knew that The To Do List was an R-rated comedy, I didn't realize that there would be SO MUCH comedy or SO MUCH R-ratedness, but there is no doubt that this was a true blue R-rated comedy. There were a few things that were a bit too much for Plaza's character, Brandy Klark, but the laughs kept me from being too analytical of the inconsistencies that came with Brandy's conversion from goody-goody to goody-whoremonger. Although I went for the story, I left pleased mostly with the humor. Because the film was totally comedic, it did not quite deliver on the high expectations that I had for a coming-of-age tale. Fortunately, the hilarity was well worth my misinterpretation of what the film would actually be. Just to warn you, The To Do List is quite a raunchy tale, so know what you're getting into!
With a star-studded cast, I was scared that some of the stars might fall by the wayside and lose their significance. Thankfully, with Plaza's Brandy at the center of the entire film, it was ok for the others to lack much significance. The only problem I had with Brandy was her aforementioned inconsistencies that at times did not fit her awkward, nerdy, Sheldon Cooper-like personality. Sure, she was trying to explore her sexuality, but she didn't have to be so straightforward with it. It would have been funnier if she would have had more issues with her list. I'm trying to keep this post close to PG, so I apologize for the ambiguity.
The film was cast very well, so the negatives were few and far between, but they were there. Andy Samberg, who I usually love, was totally unnecessary and random as rock band member, Van. This character was the one place where the cameos went a tad overboard. Also, I did not care for Connie Britton as Mrs. Klark, Brandy's mom. I'm so used to seeing Britton play a responsible motherly figure in Friday Night Lights and American Horror Story, and I couldn't get over that, as her character was a bit of whoremonger herself...
Johnny Simmons' Cameron provided the most laughs, by far, throughout the entire film. After seeing him play a more serious character in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I wasn't sure how funny he would actually be, but he blew me away. Another actor that blew me away with unexpected hilarity was Clark Gregg, who played Brandy's dad, Judge Clark. That's right, folks! Agent Coulson can be funny! I promise that, if you watch this film, you will laugh at Agent Coulson.
Although The To Do List was nothing like I expected, it was second only to This is The End as far as 2013 comedies are concerned. Kudos to The hilarious Aubrey Plaza and crew for making me laugh so hard at such a raunchy and uncomfortable film. Plaza's career is just getting going (ten years after her character's), and I can't wait to see what she does next. While I hope that The Kings of Summer and The Way, Way Back have a lot more drama, I'm glad that The To Do List surprised me. There is nothing like being pleasantly surprised by a film. It's actually better than really liking a movie that you expected to really like. If you have a chance and are willing to sacrifice your innocence for a couple of hours, go watch The To Do List. You will not be disappointed. I give The To Do List 4.16 out of 5 stars.


  1. I love the cast of this film and was looking forward to it but it just missed the mark.

    Personally, I thought Plaza was miscast but there were a few inspired segments.

    1. I agree that the role was not perfect for Plaza. If I didn't find her so funny, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed her performance at all.

  2. Good review Tanner. For me, I was just left uncharmed and very unhappy. It just did not work for me in the way it did for most others, but I will give it some credit for at least trying to show a female's sexual, coming-of-age as a more serious matter, than just a non-stop joke, then and again. Oh wait, they did do that. Never mind. Screw this movie.

    1. Ha ha! I didn't want to ruin the ending for anyone, but It was ridiculous how they acted like they were going to teach a moral lesson at the end, then they just threw that right out the window. It's one of those movies where I accepted that there was no real coming-of-age lesson to be learned and just let the comedy happen to me.