The To Do List
dir-scr Maggie Carey
prd Mark Gordon, Tom Lassally, Brian Robbins, Sharla Sumpter, Jennifer Todd, Greg Walter
with Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Scott Porter, Rachel Bilson, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Donald Glover, Andy Samberg
release US 26.Jul.13, UK 4.Oct.13
13/US 1h44
The To Do List
Top of the list: Porter and Plaza

simmons hader bilson
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The To Do List Finally, someone dares to make a losing-my-virginity comedy with a female protagonist. Aubrey Plaza brings her impeccable timing to this sexy, funny film, which sits so far outside the box that moviegoers may find it difficult to watch. And while it's too gentle to be a classic, it's still worth a look.

After graduating at the top of her Boise high school class, Brandy (Plaza) worries that she's neglected to cultivate her social skills. So over the summer she makes a to-do list leading to actual sex, hopefully with the dreamy hunk lifeguard Rusty (Porter) who works with her at the local swimming pool. Also working there is her nice-guy pal Cameron (Simmons), who's clearly in love with her. With advice from her best friends (Shawkat and Steele) and her big sister (Bilson), Brandy works through her list only to discover, of course, that emotions complicate everything.

There's only one person on-screen who's uncomfortable talking about sex, and that's Brandy's father (Gregg), rather understandably. Her mother (Britton), on the other hand, has plenty of helpful advice. And as the other guys in town (Glover and Mintz-Plasse) learn of Brandy's list, they make sure they get to check some of the items off themselves. As does a visiting rocker (Samberg).

Yes, it's very corny, but writer-director Carey tells the story from a woman's perspective, maintaining an intriguing balance by noting that first-time sex is important, but it's not as earth-shattering as people make it out to be. Even so, Brandy goes at this as an academic challenge, diving into each encounter without noticing the intimacy, which makes her seem a bit cold and harsh. Although certainly not as thoughtless as the men.

Fortunately, Plaza is such a likeable actress that we'd follow her anywhere. And the cast is obviously having fun playing with each nutty scene. Stand-outs include Hader (as Brandy's loser boss) and Britton's (the far-too-liberal mother). And if the film had more spark to it, we might have had some memorable moments from terrific comedy players like Mintz-Plasse and Glover as well. Even with the trashy talk and forward-thinking story, this is a nice movie about nice people. And perhaps it needed a sharper edge.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality 22.Aug.13

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