There are comedy films that sacrifice a few jokes and gags in order to improve the story. That’s not the case with director Melissa Miller Costanz’s new film The List. The List, in fact, is so keen on keeping the silly one-liners that it seems nobody even tried to salvage the story. Apart from the fact that the film beats around the bush a lot, another annoying fact in this romantic dramedy is that the characters are not defined in a believable way. The story begins with Abby and Matt’s engagement. When famous actress Kenzie Scott showed up in the bar where they were celebrating with their friends, the topic of the list came up. This was the list where Abby and Matt each listed five celebrities they were allowed to hook up with, and it wouldn’t be counted as infidelity. What follows is quite sad, but the hell-bent determination of the writers to desperately make a hilarious comedy ensures that the story moves forward, albeit quite absurdly.
Plot Synopsis: What happens In The Film?
So, as I told you, Matt and Abby get engaged and playfully prepare their lists. Actually, all of their friends do as well. Kenzie Scott was on Matt’s list, too. But that’s not the point. The list was supposed to be like an inside joke and not an actual list that one could use as a discount coupon to get some percentage off their fidelity. But Matt is shown as a deceiving man who wanted to cheat on Abby and did exactly that when he got the chance with Kenzie. Abby was hurt and embarrassed by this publicly on the day of her bridal shower, when Matt was caught discussing Kenzie on Instagram Live. You would think that everything would end between Abby and Matt, but no, Abby continues to be in a relationship with him. She does get infuriated at his naiveté, acting like the list was some legal contract that took away her right to get upset. Matt cheated on Abby, and yet she didn’t call off the wedding and break up with him.
Why Didn’t Abby Break Up With Matt?
Abby was a speechwriter for the mayor of the town. She was never presented as one suffering from an inferiority complex, so it’s hard for me to decipher why she didn’t break up with Matt. Intellectual reasoning works well; she had given him a free pass to get it on with the celebrities on his list. But did that override her emotional reality? She was feeling distraught, yet she didn’t break up with him. If it were the case that she didn’t want to confront him because he managed to hook up with a celebrity and was asking her to do the same, then there should be a hint of that complex somewhere. The film didn’t explain whether she took that as a challenge. She, too, would now hook up with one of the famous men on her list. If we go by exactly what the film explained, then Abby didn’t break up simply because they had a lot of ‘history’ together. That suggests she knew what Matt was really like and yet wanted to marry him, or that they had been together for such a long time that a silly case of infidelity was really not worth all that much to cancel the wedding. Whatever the case, the fact that she, too, wanted to tick someone off her own list was not the first thing on her mind. It came to her suddenly when she was on vacation with her friend Chloe.
Why Did Abby Go On Vacation?
Abby worked for Mayor Capozzi, who had been tolerating her poor performance at work. But when he couldn’t let it go any further, he fired her, and Abby, on top of being depressed, was now unemployed, too. The wedding was three weeks away, and her friend Chloe proposed a vacation that could probably help her mood. Abby was really not into it initially, but she had just lost her job; what else could she do that was better than a vacation? She wasn’t talking to Matt, and maybe this was a way to show him that she was still upset. She had agreed to get away from all the hassles in her life, as per Chloe’s request, but the truth was that she was never getting over the fact that she was cheated on so easily, and when she saw Kenzie Scott’s poster on billboards or saw her interview on TV, the already upset Abby got even more furious.
How Did Jake Come Into Abby’s life?
So right after seeing Kenzie on TV and finding no way out of her misery, Abby finally started contemplating if she too should try out her ‘list’. It happened first when she took a sleeping pill that Chloe had given her to calm her down on the plane. In a semi-conscious state, she saw Nick Viall hanging out at a bar. Nick was one of the celebrities on her list, and even though Chloe tried to talk her out of it, Abby went to talk to him in hopes that Nick would get seduced. It wasn’t the case. Things got comical when Nick’s ultra-jealous girlfriend arrived and wanted to stab Abby with a fork.
While all the hilarity ensued, Jake, the waiter, watched Abby and was fascinated by her and her weird but fun-loving persona. He didn’t know her backstory but was quite smitten with her. While she was busy dealing with her own issues, it was Jake who showed her around and didn’t let her feel like she was alone. The same couldn’t be said about Abby, who was so lost in proving a point that she didn’t even listen to her heart and almost got married to Matt.
Did Abby And Jake End Up Together?
After the Nick Viall episode, Abby should have learned her lesson and focused on what Chloe said about Jake’s interest in her. But here she was, trying to do the same things she had refused to do earlier. Was she trying to get even with Matt? Perhaps yes. The epiphany that she got, which for some reason excited Chloe as well, was that the list was her way of coming of age. She told Chloe that all her life had revolved around Matt and her job, and the list was her way of reclaiming her life and living it on her own terms. Chloe supported her in her endeavor, and they began their hunt for all the celebrities on her list. Oscar Isaac was also one of the names that graced the list, so they started to hunt for more accessible ones. Abby got in touch with Chloe’s ex-girlfriend, Sam, who was a celebrity manager. With her help, Abby got to meet two other celebrities, but nothing worked in her favor. Before aiming for Oscar, there was the rapper Avon, at whose party Abby ran into Kenzie and confronted her for sleeping with Matt. Kenzie apologized, as she didn’t know that Matt was engaged. Thanks to Kenzie, Abby figured out another thing.
When Matt came to her with the puppy face and read out the vows he had prepared for their wedding, Abby almost agreed to go through with the wedding, but she realized one thing. Matt had told her that he slept with Kenzie just once, all because of the ‘free pass’ he had because of the list. But according to Kenzie, Matt had taken her to his new place as well, where they (Abby and Matt) had started to live together. So, it must mean he slept with Kenzie more than once. Abby apologized to Kenzie and faced the truth she was desperately trying to avoid: that Matt never cared about Abby. She had wasted so much time on her list under the pretext of living her own life that she didn’t see who really cared for her. All the while she was unsure of herself, Jake was around to cheer her up. He truly cared about her, and Abby had accidentally broken his heart. Abby was trying to thank Avon for playing along in her stupid game to make Chloe and Sam get back together. Jake was distraught when he saw this. This is when Abby finally realized that Jake was the one who cared about her, and she decided to help him. She used her connection with Mayor Capozzi and got Jake the license to photograph the various sites, which would have helped his business and helped him finally give up his day job and follow his passion.
The List‘s ending, where Abby sits comfortably on the plane to New York, implies that she has taken up that job again. Mayor Capozzi had called her back, as he didn’t feel things were going right ever since she was fired. He was giving her a second chance. Abby now had a job, and Jake would come to New York soon. She felt fulfilled, which is why when Oscar Isaac was rumored to be on her plane, she didn’t try to find out. Why would she? Being with a celebrity shouldn’t be anyone’s dream, as the real dream is finding someone you will stay with for the rest of your life. Jake believed it when he said this to Abby, and now she believes it too.