'The To Do List' (R)
Aubrey Plaza shines in this crude and raunchy romp.
The To Do List is a funny movie, but only if you’re not easily offended. If the non-edited version of 2 Live Crew’s Me So Horny — which plays over the opening credits — turns your hair white, do yourself a favor and stay far away, and please don’t send me email.
Otherwise, prepare to laugh at this raunchy teen comedy about the sexual education of virginal high school graduate Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation). Brandy is the valedictorian of the class of ’93 — a great excuse for filmmaker Maggie Clark to haul out an excellent soundtrack that is 20 years old, much to my horror. Brandy’s studies have not included any in-depth course work with the opposite sex. When she realizes her inexperience may work against her once she’s at college, she tackles the issue with the same methodical approach she’d use to do her homework: She makes a list of every conceivable sexual act and a few she can’t even define yet and vows to check them all off before summer is over.
Losing-it movies are a dime a dozen, but most of them are still about boys, and when they’re not, they’re about girls realizing that sex is a special, magical event to be savored only with someone you care about. Not so in The To Do List, which is refreshing in its carefree attitude toward young women and sex and its refusal to fall into the romantic comedy trap (it is however dutifully responsible on the issue of birth control). Girls just want to have fun, too, after all. Even Brandy’s happily married mom (Connie Britton) laments the good times she missed in her younger days. The most shocking moment in the film doesn’t involve Brandy’s sexual shenanigans but the elegant Britton uttering the word “lube.” Somewhere in TV land, Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights is grinning.
Naturally, there’s collateral damage on Brandy’s way to the promised land. Her pal Cameron (Johnny Simmons) really likes her and doesn’t realize she’s using him to achieve a secret goal, and her best friends (Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele) get bent out of shape when Brandy’s quest overlaps with their own crushes. Above the fray is sexy Rusty Waters (an unrecognizable and hilarious Scott Porter), the guitar-playing college hottie Brandy targets as her deflowerer.
In reality, this could all be a lot simpler: Brandy could check off most of her items in one night with one guy. But The To Do List is cheerfully unconcerned with realism; the cast is so obviously over high school age it almost becomes part of the joke. But that’s of little consequence. Like sex, movies should be fun, and The To Do List easily checks that requirement off the list.
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Scott Porter, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg.
Writer-director: Maggie Clark.
Producers: Mark Gordon, Tom Lassally, Brian Robbins, Sharla Sumpter, Jennifer Todd, Greg Walter.
A CBS Films release. Running time: 104 minutes. Pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language — all involving teens. Opens Friday July 26 at area theaters.