The F**k-It List review – trade this faux revolution for a real one

By M.N. Miller
Published: July 5, 2020


I hate films like The F**k-It List. It’s the equivalent of the old adage that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on.

I hate films like The F**k-It List. It’s the equivalent of the old adage that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on. It’s a coming of age film that is incredibly disingenuous and out of touch with reality — even if it seems to have struck a chord on social media. Which makes me think in ten to fifteen years high school kids will look back at this film’s initial reviews and ask themselves, “What the f**k was that critic thinking?” With most movies like this the creators try to catch the fleeting nature of youth, without consequences, which is irresponsible, but standard in Hollywood. If the film’s script put half the effort that the protagonist put into his schoolwork, they really could have captured a real-life movement, instead of the fake kind.

The F**k-It List’s oversimplified and immature character study focuses on a high-school senior with a 4.65 GPA, Brett Blackmore (Eli Brown). He laments over the fact that his parents gave up his childhood for a future that locked him into seven out of eight Ivy League universities (Harvard has him weight listed). Of course, his friends (one of them played by Blackish’s Marcus Scribner) and his high school crush, Kayla (Madison Iseman) thinks he should go out more when his parents (Jerry O’Connell and Natalie Zea) have tried to guide him on the straight and narrow path. So, naturally, Brett takes part in the school prank that goes, uh, boom. He is the only one that is caught on tape and takes the fall for his friends, which endangers his future.

This is Michael Duggan’s directorial feature debut, and most of his credits have been producing television and writing several incarnations of Law & Order episodes (including Law & Order: UK, which, I confess, I didn’t know was a thing). He also wrote the script, along with David McDermott (Eagle Eye), and it’s the kind of script that attempts to invent problems out of positive situations when there are, honest to God, problems in the world people have to deal with.

I do like the cohesive nature the story has with his crush Kayla, which can border on pleasant, even vibrant. The concerned, nice act of his parents is also refreshing, but his father does admit later that maybe they had the “wrong” minded 18-year plan for him. Really? Maybe it’s a little excessive, but for movie purposes, this is a way to create a conflict to play off of. The biggest complaint Brett seems to have is that he was made to participate in the Jazz band instead of playing basketball. I mean, my God, call the social worker.

Yes, you can argue this review is taking this coming of age film a tad too seriously, but only because the film is portraying it in that sense while still acting, well, stupid. Sure, we can ignore the fact that the insurance company would sue the school, and Brett would serve obvious jail time or at the very least be prosecuted. Alternatively, the mere fact that his friends are letting him take a fall for something he had nothing to do with means they aren’t his friends at all. Tone-deaf dialogue and statements (“You have done something no one has done in six-million years… Gone viral”) and college admission’s standards need to change (they actually have started to evolve years prior). The film even has a questionable scene of a mass book burning, which means, I’m just guessing here, maybe the kids didn’t read their history books.

Worse, The F**k-It list seemed to want to justify the college admission’s scandal and make light of education because as long as you start a viral video, you will be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars because of it. I’m all for a cinematic license, comedic sensibilities, and even stretching the truth a bit for a fictional film to tell an entertaining story. I just wish the creators of this movie weren’t so offensive to real-world sensibilities and viewer’s common sense. This is a faux movement or revolution film — trade it in for a real one.

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