The To-Do List

Aubrey Plaza
The To Do List is being billed as Superbad with a female protagonist - Aubrey Plaza, who I enjoyed in Safety Not Guaranteed last year. Playing a nerd (which I'm afraid she's now being typecast into), she finds out that she's way behind as compared to her friends on the spectrum of sexual activities, and she makes a list of things she wants to "accomplish" before she leaves for college in the fall. This film will not be for everyone, as some people at my screening even walked out within the first twenty minutes, but if you're a fan of the American Pie series or like those types of movies, then you will like this one.

Brandy Klark (Plaza) is just now realizing she's woefully inexperienced with guys, and vows to change that during her last summer at home. Her sister, Amber (Rachel Bilson), is engaged to a loser, but is still able to give her advice, as are her friends, Fiona and Wendy (Alia Shawcat and Sarah Steele), who support her in this endeavor. Brandy has her sights set on the ultimate prize: the hot lifeguard at the pool she's working at for the summer, Rusty Waters (Scott Porter) - the lifeguard, that is, not the pool. She also doesn't realize that her friend Cameron (Johnny Simmons) has a major crush on her, and she starts checking off some of the first things on her list with him; she gets into trouble later, though, when he finds the list and gets upset with her.

Plaza was great in this role but I'm a little afraid that she's going to end up being typecast - she always plays the "sarcastic" or "dorky one" in movies now, even in films like Monsters University where she's voice talent. Connie Britton was funny as Brandy's mom, as well; she tries to be frank with Brandy since Brandy is always honest with her, and sometimes things come out rather bluntly, like when Brandy asks her at the breakfast table how old she was when she lost her virginity. Rachel Bilson, as Brandy's sister, was kind of annoying and shrill in this film, but I think that's how the role was supposed to be played. Also keep an eye out for Andy Samberg in a cameo as a rocker whom Brandy uses to accomplish one of the things on her list.

In spite of its hilarious moments, I have to give The To Do List a Maybe rather than a Yes. There were definitely parts were the movie dragged, and even though its runtime is short, it sometimes felt long throughout. What's interesting is that this film is most likely targeted at the 17-25 demographic, yet it takes place in 1993, so teens and young adults might not get all the '90s references throughout (which I loved, by the way - everything from VHS tapes to Zack Morris). Either that or their demographic is more the 25-40 mindset, in which case it will probably do well at the box office - fans of Plaza should attend in droves, at the very least.

The To Do List is in theaters today, July 26th, and is rated R with a runtime of 100 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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