The To Do List — movie review
Release date: July 26, 2013
Written and directed by: Maggie Carey
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader, Johnny Simmons, Rachel Bilson, and Clark Gregg
First of all, it should be known that Aubrey Plaza is amazing, and hilarious, and just so darn cute. Second, it should be known that none of these traits are enough to help “The To Do List” from being a complete misstep, even for raunchy teen sex comedies.
Upon graduating from high school, Brandy Klark (Plaza) realizes she spent more time being a nerd and getting good grades than she did enjoying herself. She’s a virgin — not just in bed, but also to any social circles that lead to good parties…and those good parties usually lead to good sex, right?
Brandy decides she is going to experience every little sexcapade she has missed out on that way she isn’t an innocent little prude when she hits the college campus. And thus, the To-Do List is born. It includes everything from — earmuffs kids — kissing, dry humping, oral sex and of course, having sex with the hot college guy she works with at the public swimming pool.
The movie takes place in the 90’s — 1993 to be precise — something writer and director Maggie Carey feels the need to remind the audience every 4.5 seconds. Carey, perhaps best known for working with the “Funny Or Die” crew, seems more obsessed with cramming as many 90’s jokes as she can rather than rely on the talented and funny cast to run with some clever and original jokes.
That talented cast nearly saves this movie. Besides Plaza, who oddly seems like she is trying a little too hard to fit the role here, the film is fully of funny men and women. Former SNL-er Bill Hader plays Brandy’s slacker boss; the underrated Donald Glover plays one of Brandy’s co-workers who would just love to help her with her list; Clark Gregg plays Brandy’s dad, who is just as insecure sexually as she is; Connie Britton is her more experienced than she lets on mother.
So the cast is great, it’s just the jokes are so dumb and tedious that it doesn’t matter who is reading the lines. Most of them involve Brandy’s complete awkwardness about sex and attempts to push the envelope for shock value, including an unnecessarily odd masturbation scene. There are some really funny moments but they are too few and far between, and most of them fall with a thud.
Then, just when you think it’s over, “The To Do List” becomes the “Lord of the Rings” of teen sex comedies and just refuses to end. The film runs just around 100 minutes but it feels much longer — just like high school — so at least it gets that right.
But with all the clichés and misfiring jokes, “The To Do List” should be noted on a list of movies to avoid. Thankfully, Aubrey Plaza is so talented that she will be able to overcome this unfortunate movie.
- The Wolverine
- The Way, Way Back
- RED 2
- The Conjuring
Stay up to date by subscribing to my Movie Examiner column at the top of the page and you’ll get my articles and reviews sent right to your e-mail.
You can also follow me @tbenglish on Twitter, on Facebook or on my own personal website, Bonus Features with t.b. english.