Writer-director Maggie Carey has put together a shockingly naughty sex comedy set in the early ’90s and featuring female protagonists. In The To Do List, Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, Safety Not Guaranteed) continues her cinematic wonder streak as Brandy, a class valedictorian and super-virgin.
After some discussions with her best buds (Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele), she decides she needs to make a sex “to-do” list to ready her for the rigors of college life. This results in a lot of awkward sex acts among high school grads, with some of them performed by best bud and secret admirer, Cameron (Johnny Simmons).
Brandy gets a summer job as a lifeguard, where she pines for Rusty Waters (Scott Porter) and works for a deadbeat boss (the hilarious Bill Hader; he’s Carey’s real-life husband). Plaza proves that she is game for anything, including a fantastically crude play on the Caddyshack “doodie” scene, and all sorts of bodily fluid exercises.
Clark Gregg may be this year’s funniest movie dad, and Rachel Bilson scores uproarious laughs as Brandy’s bitchy sister. However, when it comes to the film’s supporting performances, nobody beats Hader, who does his best screen work to date. He has a scene—one in which he is simply being woken up—that is sheer comic brilliance.
Carey is a great comedy writer, and I’m anxious to see what she comes up with next. This offering brings to mind great sex comedies like Risky Business; it’s a major relief from more recent sex comedies like the overrated American Pie series.
As for Plaza, master of the deadpan, she is one of the more enjoyable comic actresses working today. If you haven’t seen her in Safety Not Guaranteed yet, see that movie as soon as possible.
Special Features: Carey and Hader provide a commentary. You also get outtakes, deleted scenes and an interview with Carey.