'The To-Do List' Movie Review
2 1/2 Stars
Uber-raunchy but pretty interesting as sex comedies go, writer-director
With Type A organizational skills, Brandy goes about a crash course in acquiring some sexual experience prior to college. In her notebook, she compiles a clinical checklist of hurdles to be ... hurdled. Urged on by her pals, played by
Brandy's home life is cut from standard-issue cloth previously used in all sorts of teen sexcoms, dating back to the days and the likes of "Secret Admirer" in the golden
As in the "American Pie" films, much of the humor in "The To-Do List" depends on humiliation. The movie's designed alternately to heighten and/or soothe sexual anxiety and insecurity among teens. As with "Superbad," though -- and this is why Carey's film works, despite a monomaniacal comic quality -- the sexual banter among Brandy and her peers feels and sounds honest and off-formula. This is a welcome female-centric variation on a familiar theme, not the first to deal with a teenage girl's de-virginization project, but certainly a minority report in a field crowded with boys trying to Get Some, be the films good ("Superbad") or stupid and openly cruel toward women (too many to count).
Carey, strictly a newbie behind the camera but a talented writer, takes the sting out of the most painfully awkward sequences through the casting. Plaza, who recently turned 29, is nobody's idea of a teen, but her deadpan, slightly foggy way of plowing through a scene keeps the timing of the jokes unpredictable. Carey's constant '90s references ("Someone's been using their Ab Roller!") number in the millions. I wish "The To-Do List" had a little more confidence in itself, so that Brandy's adventures allowed for more in the way of genuine pathos. But then it'd be an entirely different movie. This one requires Plaza's character to eat human waste floating in a pool (she thinks it's a "Caddyshack"
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Set in 1993, Brandy Klark wants to shed her uptight image before college, so she assembles a to do list of all the activities she missed out on in high school. Brandy solicits her best friends, older sister and burnt-out boss for their help and advice
"The To-Do List" Movie Trailer
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MPAA rating: R (for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language -- all involving teens).
Running time: 1:43.
Credits: Written and directed by
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