Friday, July 26, 2013

The To Do List: Movie Review


Trying to find the limit on sexual innuendoes.
Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) is smart; she’s school smart. She knows how to do her homework and that’s about it, but when she’s taught that college is more about sexual education than actual education, she makes a sex to do list. I thought this was supposed to be a teen girl comedy, but it’s actually an immature girl comedy. So close, yet so far. 2013

Directed by: Maggie Carey

Screenplay by: Maggie Carey

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons

Photos courtesy of eOne Films.
The first big problem is that this list contains many, many sexual acts all leading up to the ultimate deed – intercourse. At least half of these items are not performed by “normal” human beings and would not be considered “less than” sex. But this movie is only about fitting in as much crass dialogue as possible, and if you limited “The To Do List” to just your basic boy-girl stuff, then they would probably fall short on their R-rated goal.

At first, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was set in the 90s. Turns out I’m younger than the target audience. Yeah, right. They actually thought that 37 year-olds are not too mature for this crap? If they weren’t so completely clueless about their target audience, I could have forgiven them on some of the pop culture references that were a few years off.

I’ve had my fill of Aubrey Plaza playing the awkward, misunderstood girl, but I do always like an appearance by an SNL cast member or two. Bill Hader was probably the funniest actor in the movie.

I was, however, really looking forward to Johnny Simmons. In the past he has had no problem pulling off villainous roles with his innocent look, or stealing scenes from Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan and Pierce Brosnan, or playing a closeted gay teenager to incite the drama in a recent crowd pleaser (see “The Conspirator”, “The Greatest”, and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”). But here, he played the love interest. That’s it, just the love interest. He's the boy, and I'm surprised they even bothered giving him a name.

It’s supposed to be funny, and it mildly is, but they’re also just trying to make as many in-your-face sexual innuendoes as possible. But it also has a plot, a final destination, and more importantly, a point. It has something to say about the importance, or lack thereof, of sex. Personally, I think it’s kind of a lame point, but it’s better than saying nothing at all. The whole rest of “The To Do List” is the list which has nothing to say and the only point was how many words would the MPAA take offence to – probably a lot.