Review: 'The To Do List' is an evocative teen romp
This film publicity image released by CBS Films shows Aubrey Plaza as Brandy Klark, left, and Alia Shawkat as Fiona in a scene from "The To Do List." (AP Photo/CBS Films, Bonnie Osborne)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coming of age comedies are fraught with seemingly limitless pitfalls, necessitating a well-honed screenplay and persuasive performances to assure audience allegiance. So with consistently entertaining characters and infectious humor, writer-director Maggie Carey's "The To Do List" delivers well above expectations
Even as 1993 valedictorian of her Boise high school class, mathlete Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) can't escape the ridicule of many classmates for her goody-good image and lack of worldliness. Facing her first year in university as a virginal freshman, Brandy decides to reevaluate her priorities, especially after a drunken mix-up at her very first kegger results in a mistaken make-out session with too-hot Rusty Waters (Scott Porter), the No. 1 object of lust among all her classmates.
This film publicity image released by CBS Films shows Aubrey Plaza portraying Brandy Klark in a scene from "The To Do List." (AP Photo/CBS Films, Bonnie Osborne)
Brandy quickly tosses her college planning when she discovers her latent libido in favor of a to-do list of sexual experiences she hopes will quickly get her up to speed before the fall semester starts. Her more experienced BFFs Wendy (Sarah Steele) and Fiona (Alia Shawkat) are dubious that Brandy can go from bench-warmer status to home base in one short summer, but with the experienced guidance of her semi-skanky sister Amber (Rachel Bilson), who lost her virginity at 14, Brandy sorts out her priorities and identifies a shortlist of candidates to help her get into the game.
She quickly checks off her first few goals with her crushed-out chemistry lab partner Cameron (Johnny Simmons), but finding out that Rusty is also working at the same public pool where she's lifeguarding for the first time over the summer throws Brandy off her stride. Her nonchalant response to the constant hazing from her coworkers and slacker boss Willy (Bill Hader) earns her some respect, however, particularly when she elicits the well-kept secret that could get Willy fired.