The To Do List was stirred by writer-director, Maggie Carey’s summer teenage memories. The film takes us way-way back down memory lane to 1993 and is set in Boise, Idaho. This American teenage sex comedy, intended to level the playing field of cliché teenage sexual awakening films, totally flips the script by becoming feminist. Carey puts a female protagonist, Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza), in the driving seat for a change.
Brandy Klark is ‘that girl’ in high school that everyone rolls their eyes at because she is Miss Know-It-All. She is the overachieving school valedictorian that praises Hillary Clinton and you guessed it, has never been kissed and she is off to college! She never cared about ‘such things’, until her experienced bff’s Fiona (Alia Shawkat) and Wendy (Sarah Steele) introduced her to a booze-off at a college party where she meets drop dead gorgeous Rusty Waters (Scott Porter). After a series of drunken events and an identity mix-up Brandy finds her inexperienced self having an embarrassing smooch-down with Rusty.
This ill-fated incident and the torment from her slutty sister Amber (Rachel Bilson) left Brandy with one choice. She has to get some sexual action from the opposite sex if she wants to fit in at college. She creates ‘The To Do List’ of sexual encounters before handing over the grand prize to Rusty who she believes should be the one to pop her cherry. Brandy takes on the do to list like she would a math test, nerdy and determined but this time she plans to get plenty of pleasure out it. Once the boys find out about her list they queue up to be her performance guinea pigs.
The To Do List is essentially a ‘girlie’ version of American Pie as it revolves around a teenager’s expedition to try every sexual activity before starting college. The style of comedy is conventional entertainment that brings taboo sexual activities into light which makes the film feel drastic and obviously radical. Aubrey who is actually 29 years old took on the role of a mischievous horny teenager and managed to pull it off really well, never mind that she totally pulled off those naughty 90’s outfits. It’s astounding to watch a film that portrays a woman eagerly chasing sex so lightheartedly and with no emotion.
Carey’s tactic to comedy is very much a one-liner approach and is saturated with sexual punchlines. The irony of the film is that Carey finds a way to sneak in the fact that she wishes she could turn back the clock to 1993. This over crude teen comedy is filled with gross-gags and boisterous moments. If you are into the teenage pop culture mixed with feminist girl power from the nostalgic 90’s era then this film is made for you.