A Capsule Review
I don’t know, perhaps I just expected greater things. After watching ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’, Aubrey Plaza quickly became one of my ‘one to watch out for’ stars in the making. It became my favourite film of that year, thanks not least for her performance, but the magical chemistry she had with Mark Duplass.’ The To-Do List’ is an example of what you really shouldn’t do after you have made an outstanding indie. Never follow a great one up with decidedly average one. Nobody has too much of a problem if you do it the other way around, however.
Lovers of all things Emma Stone may have watched this with a certain amount of smug glee, as memories of ‘Easy A’ will surface all too easily. Like Stone’s character, Plaza’s Brandy Klark is about the same age, and whilst not as confident or sassy as Stone’s counterpart, they both really only have one thing on their mind, albeit for markedly different reasons.
Planting its intentions firmly, this irreverent sex comedy will be most appreciated by a certain type of audience member. As per the message that continues to crop up in the film, sex is less important once you have done it. Beforehand, it’s a big deal, however. And it will be to those people that are likely to garner the most thrills from a project that will at the same times seem naive and childish to the rest of us world-weary non-virgins.
Never actually puerile, but approaching bad taste from time to time (the poo in the pool, for example), The To Do List is a one-girl-grab-all-bonkathon-bucket-list of comedy filth without it ever nearing the Bechdel Test in terms of film-making kudos. And it is funny, from time to time, but never retains a consistent level of comedy throughout, but the pearls when they do come, will possibly make the more infantile members of the audience crack a snort or two.
Plaza’s performance is mostly deadpan throughout and her portrayal of a virgin on the cusp of enthusiastic and hurried sexual awakening prior to leaving for college is completely unbelievable, of course, but nonetheless, is probably a wish-fulfilment fantasy of many teenage boys, squirming uncomfortably in their seats. She continues to display excellent timing, even with a script that is a good deal less sophisticated than some of her previous work.
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