Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


The To Do List

The To Do List
Starring:
Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader Scot Porter, Alia Shawkat, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Connie Britton and Clark Gregg


Rated: R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language - all involving teens.       
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: July 26, 2013 Released by: 3 Arts Entertainment

The To Do List is rated R had it been NC-17 it would have been more honest, but not as much fun.  

Aubrey Plaza plays Brandy the scrawny heroin who plays a part that is usually reserved for guys in sex comedies.  Her summer goal is to experience all forms of sex before beginning college in September.  She works at it with a chart that has dates and participants in her quest, all carefully mapped out with her color markers in pastel colors.  It's as if this is a necessary requirement before she enters the halls of ivy.  

Her two friends Fiona (Alia Shawkat) and Wendy (Sarah Steele) work with her as if she were buying a new car and It all becomes a naughty pleasure comedy.  But it is difficult to judge wether this is an innocent comedy (she isn't even aware of some of the words on her chart) or if it places Brady in the vulgar position of being a nasty sex joke.  

It could be that it is difficult to watch the sweet innocent almost childlike girl entering into each sex act with determination to seduce guys (who cooperate) to complete her To Do List, after all she is someone's daughter. But here Dad and particularly Mom "understand" and not in the traditional expected manner from parents.  Dad learns more of his partner's life before marriage than he needs to know and Mom has a surprise for her husband which turns into a double surprise and a pretty good laugh situation on Brandy's final completion night.

Brandy's summer adventure is not just sexual she does lead her pool team into a revenge mission on the pool of another team that has attacked her work pool.  Her meticulous organization causes her a problem after the raid because she has already placed her name on all of her clothing per instructions from her college and one piece gets left behind.  She also finds sticky popcorn butter a limiting tool to achieve one of her goals.  

Sister Amber (a pretty Rachel Bilson) is a smart ass who has yards of experience and is ready to use it to marry "so he can take care of me."  She needs a sugar daddy not the young stud she has connected with.  

The sisters remind me of Picnic (1955) in which Kim Novak plays the pretty older sister who Mom (Betty Field) pressures to marry the rich available man about town and is willing to push her into intimacy at a Labor Day picnic. The young less attractive but very bright young sister played by Susan Strasberg, is uncomfortable with guys but is a rebel determined to read The Ballad of the Sad Cafe who pledges to write books that will shock everyone who reads them.  The two young girls are similar but the world of 50 years ago is far less visual.   

Coming of age comedy can be delicate, a few years ago we had zit flicks all over the lot, but they were not about girls who want what boys want they were all about guys. This is either an avant-guard affirmation that woman are sexual beings (sort of like men) or an overreach that is embarrassing.     

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
The To Do List  B      C+                     B- 

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