Top positive review
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Raunchy but in a funny way
on 7 November 2013
"The To Do List" (2013 release; 104 min.) brings the story of Brandy (played by Audrey Plaza), who has just graduated as the valedictorian of her 1993 high school class. Brandy has been the academic overachiever but is mocked for still being a virgin. Brandy's best friends Fiona and Wnedy convince her that she needs some 'experience' before she heads off to college at Georgetown. Brandy reluctantly agrees and then runs into Rusty at a party. Rusty is the ultimate good-looking all-American hunk and Brandy has the hots for him. Meanwhile Brandy has made a list of sex activities she wants to accomplish, and her lifelong friend Cameron is 'giving her a hand'. To make ends meet, Brandy has taken a summer job as a life guard at the local pool, where Rusty and Cameron also work. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first and foremost, this is a raunchy film about sex. If that sounds like it will offend you or turn you off, save yourself the trouble (and money), and check out another film instead. But if the subject matter doesn't offend you, be prepared for a funny film with lots of racy language and situations. I have to say that I found myself chuckling and laughing a lot more than I had expected, and the audience in the theatre was equally eating it up. This is the debut feature of writer-director Maggie Carey, so it's not guys who were dreaming up the script! Aubrey "Parks and Recreation" Plaza shines throughout as Brenda, but kudos as well to several others (and to me preciously unknown), including Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele as Brenada's best friends, and a special mention for Scott Porter as the good-looking hunk Rusty, giving a tongue-in-cheek performance. Last but certainly not least, the film features a stellar soundtrack from the early 90s with songs from 2 Live Crew, Naughty By Nature, Gin Blossoms, mazzy Star, the Cranberries, etc. etc. (Brendy's room has posters on the wall of Pearl Jam and also REM Green World Tour 1989, I suppose the producers couldn't get or afford the musical rights to these superstars.)
Bottom line: this is a raunchy but funny movie that I found even endearing in a very unexpected way, as Aubrey Plaza will charm you from start to finish. "The To Do List" reminds me in spirit quite a bit of "For a Good Time, Call..." from last year: a light-hearted sex comedy from the woman's perspective. There is a fine line between raunchy/funny and vulgar/off-putting, and this movie stays within that boundary that you'll smile more often than not. The screening I saw this at here in Cincinnati in July was quite well attended for a matinee, and laughing out loud at many occasions. Assuming you are not offended by the subject matter, "The To Do List" is worth checking out, be it in the theatre or on DVD/Blu-ray.