The To Do List
- Rob Carnevale
- 4 October 2013
Aubrey Plaza stars in Maggie Carey's unconventional and original teen sex comedy
It’s refreshing to see a teen sex comedy unfold from a female perspective, even if it’s slutty, potty-mouthed and often mean-spirited. But then much of the appeal of Maggie Carey’s The To Do List lies in the way that it flies in the face of convention, while providing a useful leading role for the talented Aubrey Plaza (of TV’s Parks & Recreation fame).
Loosely based on the real-life adventures of writer-director Carey, The To Do List follows nerdy valedictorian Brandy Klark (Plaza) as she compiles a list of tasks to complete before she attends campus at the end of the summer, most of which are sexual in nature.
What follows is often vulgar and involves plenty of sexual humiliation, but that’s kind of the point. Klark learns the inevitable coming-of-age lessons the hard way, and the film seldom panders to the need to sentimentalise, and revels in its treatment of men as the needier characters.
Plaza is an endearing central presence, whose transition from needy desperation to someone more confident and independent is fun. There’s similarly engaging support from Rachel Bilson as Klark’s confrontational sister, Johnny Simmons as her sensitive friend (hoping to become more), Bill Hader as her juvenile boss and Clark Gregg in a scene-stealing role as Klark’s exasperated dad.
Needless to say, the film remains familiar to anyone who has ever watched a teen movie, from Superbad to Easy A via The Way, Way Back and more, but it has heart and intelligence to offset its more raucous moments and looks destined for cult appeal.
General release from Fri 4 Oct.