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The To Do List review: Teen comedy gets gender twist By Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin Metro Canada – Reel Guys July 26, 2013

The-To-Do-List1Synopsis: Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) is an overachiever. She’s the publisher of her own magazine, Women With a Y, a straight A student with a full scholarship to Georgetown University and her high school valedictorian. She’s also a virgin, a status she hopes to change soon with the help of Rusty Waters (Scott Porter), a college surfer stud with a perfect smile. Attacking her new project with the gusto that won her accolades in school, she gets the advice of friends and family (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele and Rachel Bilson) and makes up a “to do” list, applying the same zeal that made her a mathelete to losing her virginity.

Star Ratings:

Richard: 3 Stars
Mark: 3 Stars

Richard: Mark, if you’re of the generation familiar with Snackwells and skorts, then this movie may resonate a little louder for you than it did for me. It’s a cleverly drawn coming-of-age picture, set in 1993, that gets the tone of the times right—skorts and all—but it left me feeling as though I was watching a throwback to the sex comedies of the early nineties filtered through a 2013 lens. In other words, less innocence, more bodily fluids. What did you think?

Mark: One of the things I love about movies is how much you can learn from them. Richard, I had no idea how tough it is for an attractive young woman to lose her virginity! Well, live and loin. Switching the gender roles and making the teenage girl the aggressor was a nice touch, and setting it in 1993 made its pre-internet sexuality seem almost believable. It’s John Hughes with an R rating-not a bad thing. What did you think of Aubrey Plaza?

RC: I like Aubrey Plaza. I think if this part had been played by anyone else—imagine Emma Stone or Imogen Poots—it would have lost some of its charm. Plaza is naturally off balance so the stranger moments of this movie don’t feel forced or quirky for the sake of being quirky. As I said earlier, I didn’t much go for some of the bodily fluid gags—or the gross Caddyshack tribute—but Plaza trying to vamp it up in an ill fitting bathing suit is a really funny scene.

MB: I liked Aubrey Plaza too. She was just gawky enough to make the movie seem credible. In fact, the whole movie is well cast. Bill Hader has lots of great moments, and Plaza’s two girlfriends are not the typical cuties you usually find in a teen picture. I actually think there’s another influence working on this picture- Napoleon Dynamite. From the Idaho setting to the oversaturated colours, quirky rhythms and simple cinematography, there’s a lot the two movies have in common, although this one seems more overtly commercial.

RC: Maybe more commercial, but telling the story from a female point of view is a nice change from the usual boycentric sex comedy story.

MB: Richard, in spite of what some people may think, I am not, nor have I ever been a teenage girl. But I found I could relate to the story, because although it takes place in 1993, it takes place in Boise, Idaho, which feels like 1973.


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