Movie Review: The To Do List

To Do  STARRING: Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader, Johnny Simmons, Scott Porter, Rachel Bilson, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Donald Glover, Clark Gregg, Connie Britton, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Adam Pally, Nolan Gould, Jack McBrayer.

 WRITTEN BY: Maggie Carey

  DIRECTED BY: Maggie Carey

 

I’m super surprised this film managed an R rating. It’s funny to look back at something like American Pie, which had Jason Biggs humping a pie one too many times, and then fast forward to this, which has more sex than basically any film I can think of that features virtually no nudity. That’s right, if you were hoping to see any boobs from any of the female leads listed above, or penises, you’ll be sorely mistaken. They get away with it, because there is no nudity in the film.

Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) has just graduated as Valedictorian from her high school. She’s super smart, a real nerdy overachiever. And she’s a virgin. Somehow, she’s friends with two slutty girls (Alia Shawkat/Sarah Steele). She’s also friends with Cameron (Johnny Simmons), her lab partner, who has a secret crush on her. After getting drunk at a graduation party and getting to make out with a college boy, Rusty (Scott Porter), she decides she’s going to spend her summer becoming more sexually experienced.

She makes a list of a ton of sexual terms, including things like Rim Job and Pearl Necklace, that she has no idea what they actually are. As the film progresses, she starts checking things off her list. Her main goal is to have sex with Rusty by the end of the summer.Brandy also works at a pool, with Rusty and Cameron. That’s where we meet her boss Willy (Bill Hader), as well as Derrick (Donald Glover). Brandy also has a fairly slutty sister (Rachel Bilson), and two parents (Connie Britton/Clark Gregg) with varying opinions on sex.

I think we have to be careful not to confuse edgy with crude, or funny with gross. The most memorable moments in the film are either gross out moments, or crude limit-pushing moments. Either she’s giving a handjob, oral sex, or some other form of pleasure to some random guy, or she’s talking about it. It’s not so much funny as it is just crude. Also, this is the oldest looking high school cast. Aubrey Plaza is 29, Johnny Simmons is 26, Scott Porter is 34, Donald Glover is 30. The only person who actually LOOKS high school is Sarah Steele, who permanently looks 14 years old, despite the fact that she’s actually 25. Blew my mind when I saw her age, because she looks like a freshman in high school. Everyone else looks so much older than her. Johnny Simmons could probably pass for a college kid.

I did chuckle a few times. I thought Clark Gregg was terrific in his role. Andy Samberg’s part is entertaining. Aubrey Plaza is a little polarizing as the lead, but the role is written close enough to her actual personality that it almost works. I guess my problem here is that I felt that the film was simply only going for shock value, with no real punchline. They’re hoping that you laugh because she talks about a rimjob. That’s the joke. She says the word. And you know, one or two people in my theatre laughed. Most of us? We’ve heard the word before. We’re not 14. I wanted a funnier punchline than that.

FINAL GRADE: C+

 

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