There has been a growing trend in the film industry for the past few years, making traditionally male raunchy films with female casts. It was wildly successful in the all female ensemble, “Bridesmaids” and in the first female cop buddy film, “The Heat”, but I think I’m safe in saying the winning streak is over for the time being, thanks to “The To Do List”.
Set in 1993, “To Do” centers around Valedictorian Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza, “Parks and Recreation”) who wants to shed her uptight image before heading off to college. What does any good student do at a time like that? She assembles a “to do list” of all the risqué activities she missed out on in high school.
Now when I say risqué, I mean activities that would make a sailor blush. In fact, I can’t think of a single one that I could print here. To help in her little venture, Brandy enlists the aid of her best friends, played by Alia Shawkat, (“Ruby Sparks”), Sarah Steele (“Spanglish”), Donald Glover (“Community”), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Superbad” “Kick-Ass”), Johnny Simmons (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), sexed-crazed older sister, Rachel Bilson (“Jumper”) and burnt-out boss Bill Hader (“SNL”).
There have been plenty of “boys-trying-to-lose-their-virginity” movies, like “American Pie” and “Superbad”, but even tacky films like the “Porky’s” trilogy look like sensitive oeuvres, compared to the little sleaze fest that is “The To Do List”.
The film is not helped by the casting of Aubrey Plaza in the lead role. The actress is completely unlikeable. Her sulky, angry persona has served her well in “Parks and Recreation” and in the film, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, but in this case it makes it hard to believe anyone would want to be her friend, let alone her “boyfriend”.
“The To Do List” was directed and written by first timer, Maggie Carey, who seems to want to prove that girls can be as raunchy as boys. Trust me when I say that we’ve known that for some time, and trust me when I say that no one needs to see “The To Do List” to reinforce that fact. I believe I speak for my sex collectively when I say, “Ewwww. Gross.”
The Bottom Line: “The To Do List” is just a very icky, very bad movie, and you should body block your grandkids if they try to see it. Try renting “Little Darlings” or “Summer of 42” if you can find them. Now excuse me while I go wash my hands.
Rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language – all involving teens. 103 minutes.