“The F**k-It List?” What a crock of s**t.
An “edgy” teen comedy bereft of laughs, wrapped in “life lessons” and nestled in privilege, it is as infuriating an entry in the “graduation” genre as Hollywood has produced.
That’s an important distinction — “Hollywood” — as this tone-deaf dud exists in the sort of bubble that would have been maddening even if it hadn’t arrived in the middle of a pandemic.
A pretty-boy/pretty-bland over-achiever whose rich parents can’t get over the fact that he was “wait-listed” for Harvard — after being accepted at every other “Ivy” — gets mixed up in a prank that blows up his Pacific Palisades high school.
Consequences? “You won’t be graduating from here.” But there aren’t a lot of road bumps you can’t roll right over when you’ve got options, your parents (Jerry O’Connell, Natalie Zea) have their own “college admissions scandal” scheme in mind, you still have access the Mercedes Daddy gave you, not when your seven-year crush is “impressed” by the “f**k-it” nature of the prank.
Young Brett (Eli Brown) proceeds to one-up “f**k-it,” “go viral,” lead a book burning and entice cute Kayla (Madison Iseman of the “Jumanji” franchise) and become a one-teen “movement.”
There’s just no failing when you’re this rich, and there’s nothing remotely cute, funny or heart-warming in watching this bland boy succeed because it’s pre-f***ing ordained.
Brett is the Cali High (Yeah, that’s what they call it.) valedictorian, accepted by Cornell, Yale, Dartmouth, etc. after following a path painstakingly plotted by his living-vicariously parents-with-money. He’s still studying, still practicing the clarinet (an Ivy League shortage of “reed instruments” players), and his pals Clint, Nico and Les (Marcus Scribner, Karan Brar, Tristan Lake Leabu) can’t believe it.
“Dude, the race is OVER. You won by like, a MILE.” Come along on their “senior prank,” whydoncha?
One blown-up school later, Brett is in hot water (ok TEPID water) but realizes he’s been living other people’s dreams and expectations. A manifesto is in order. Live stream that s**t. Start an online movement built on following your bliss, or your immature impulses.
Kayla has some serious issues she works out via the “f***-it” impulse. Pal Clint’s (Scribner) is a tad more obvious.
A PR guy gets involved, a college-admissions coach figures out how to spin it and the parents try to redeem their “18 year” investment, “not including my nine months of ‘bodily sacrifice,” Mom adds.
Co-writer and director Michael Duggan had a germ of an idea. It’s just not that risky, even if it has PG “Risky Business” pretensions.
NOBODY in this thing is the least bit interesting as a character, NONE of the situations are funny or freighted with great personal or social import.
No performance stands out. And when you don’t give some pretty solid character players (the adults) any chance to “add value” to the proceedings, your movie becomes a blank spot on the resumes of Manheim, O’Connell, Zea and Peter Facinelli (as a family friend on the Harvard “board”)
And the list? It’s practically an afterthought, something you bicker about on a cliff overlooking the Pacific in your tony neck of the woods.
Netflix “The F**l-It List?” F**k that.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, profanity, adult themes
Cast: Eli Brown, Madison Iseman, Marcus Scribner, Natalie Zea, Jerry O’Connell, Camryn Manheim
Credits: Directed by Michael Duggan, script by Michael Duggan and Dan McDermott. A Paramount release on Netflix.
Running time: 1:43