Class of '93 valedictorian Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) wants to get "educated" before she goes off to college, so she assembles a "to do list" of all the sexual activities she missed out on in high school. Quickly realising that she's way out of her league, Brandy solicits her best friends, older sister (Rachel Bilson) and burnt-out boss (Bill Hader) for their help and advice. As Brandy crams for her sexual finals, a supporting cast of horny misfits - an orally-challenged classmate (Donald Glover), a grunge-singing doofus (Andy Samberg) - eagerly offer their assistance and shocking mayhem ensues...
Much better than its description suggests
- The To Do List review by JM
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You rated this film: 3
I put this DVD in my player with some trepidation as the description was hardly edifying and I couldn't remember why I placed it on my "To watch list". No doubt, it had been well reviewed, and that explained why I reserved it. The description makes it sounds as though it could be a dispicable and sordid American trash movie, but in fact it was an enjoyable piece of Saturday night fun. What turns it from trash to enjoyable is entirely down to the light touch and humour, the acting of Aubrey Plaza and the handling of the whole sex issue. The final conclusion is that sex is OK but it's the emotional side which is all important and subverts you with surprising results if you let it. This gives the film an wholesome moral framework within which to work.
I'd never heard of Aubrey Plaza, but I certainly have now! She has a wonderful deadpan delivery and in places seems quite socially inept, but it suits the character and the character suits her. After watching this, I hunted down various Aubrey clips on You-tube and quite enjoyed her comic style and timing.
A surprisinly good teen movie and well above the usual crude outing for this genre.
I’m usually not a fan of raunchy comedies and while The To Do List shies away from doing anything completely obscene it tries to do just about as much as it can get away with. That being said as a coming of age story of a sexually inexperienced high school graduate it can make you laugh, relate and think but in the end it probably won’t affect you in any way worth mentioning.
The film follows Brandy Clark (Aubrey Plaza), a socially awkward teenager who in her summer before going off to college decides to experience every sexual experience she must to be prepared, thanks to some truly terrible advice from her sister Amber (a hilarious Rachel Bilson). Brandy prepares a list of acts to cross off the list during the summer. However when her quest gets in the way of her friendships she must contemplate what's really important.
There is very little in The To Do List that actually surprises, it’s as generic as teen comedies come, at least in terms of its tediously drawn out story. It’s the film's comedic sensibilities that raise this above your average dross with some sharp and brutally honest writing by writer/director Maggie Carey. Every joke has a sense of reality in it, an idea that these realizations about sex are honest yet unexpected. Carey understands the teenage romanticization of the act and the considerable brain space it takes up.
She brings this unique script to life with the help of Plaza whose patented comedic bluntness works perfectly for Brandy as her direct approach to her list and the way she speaks to the men in her life makes for some often cringe inducing but undeniably funny situations. Ultimately it all comes down to Plaza who makes Brandy likable despite her risque mission and Carey fills the film with equally fun characters, each with their own thing to say about the dreaded act.
As a comedy it works fantastically, as a film trying to speak to its audience its message gets buried beneath a wealth of smartly written but predictably crude anatomy jokes