Saturday, January 4, 2014
THE TO DO LIST (2013)
Written & Directed By: Maggie Carey
Cinematography By: Doug Emmett
Editor: Paul Frank
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Connie Britton, Rachel Bilson, Donald Glover, Christophe Mintz-Plasse, Scott Porter, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Clark Gregg, Andy Samberg, Adam Pally, D.C.Pierson, Dominic Dierkes
Feeling pressured to become more sexually experienced before she goes to college, Brandy Klark makes a list of things to accomplish before hitting campus in the fall. I really wanted to love this film. I even remember reading the script early when it was titled THE HAND JOB.
The movie was originally called "The Hand job", but the title needed to be changed because the production would have trouble securing locations for the film since people thought they were shooting a porn movie
It finally seemed that there would be more of a female centered raw, low brow sex comedy. Now while this film Succeeds in that manner. It still feels like a disappointment. It is noticeably different from the screenplay I read, while still retaining most of the jokes
Despite an excellent cast, most of them seem cast here with not much to do Other then react. Instead of having anything to do or be funny in their own right. Which is a shame as there are a bunch of noted comedic actors here that feel stranded.
All the teenagers in the film are played by adults for comedic purposes. Most of them are over the age of 25.
The film feels clumsy and seems to lack style and a directional coherence. The film feels sloppy and gross as it jumps around more episodic then an actual narrative where hogs are learned and helped to move the story forward. Things feel like they just happen. It also feels like the film was rushed as none of the scenes have a certain pace o build and seem too for broke rather quickly and put together the same way.
While I applaud Aubrey plaza for her fearlessness in her performance and she is the only one in the cast who really gets to shine. Instead of energetic the film feels kind of low energy.
The only other actors who come close to being memorable and funny are Bill Hader (as always) and Rachel Bilson (surprisingly) glad to finally see her on. The big screen and not disappointed.
The film is set in the 90's and while that produces a few chuckles. It may as well be set In the 80's for it's manner and a number of fashions that feel like hangovers. Where as other than a few references it never truly feels like the 90's. I mean Half the time when plaza's character dresses up she looks like she is definitely 80's soap character look and the harshness other friends makeup definitely has a more 80's vibe.
The setting for the movie was based on writer and director Maggie Carey's high school in Boise, ID. Carey graduated from Borah High in 1993, and sculpted many locations in the film to the surrounding area, including Big Bun and Borah Pool.
Despite my critical analysis. The one thing the film definitely has going for it is it's humor. Which definitely works I wish that just instead I stock one dimensional characters and scenes that focus on it seems only one joke. Instead it would have been better to let the jokes build on top of one another and make the comedic scenes bigger and grander. The way they seem to try to do towards the end of the film more so.
Obviously the film isn't a total failure. I think it is obvious a first time attempt at a film and I hope more follow in this manner that are maybe better structured and filmed. Then again you must remember I am not this films target audience. This film is obviously more female oriented.
You can look at this film as part of a trend or at least the beginning of a new Sub-Genre Teen sex comedy form a female point of view. If not the film feels at least an attempt at just a female oriented sex comedy though feels more like a mash-up or an attempt to just make a comedy and put a bunch of comedic actors together to make a film and just choosing a genre.
This is more the type of film to sit around and not think about too much as you watch it. Just enjoy the comedy and craziness that is happening on screen. Though I suspect this is a film Probably best viewed under the influence or slightly impaired.
Wait for cable