The To Do List
|The To Do List|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Maggie Carey|
|Written by||Maggie Carey|
|Music by||Raney Shockne|
|Editing by||Paul Frank|
|Distributed by||CBS Films|
|Running time||104 minutes|
The To Do List is a 2013 American comedy film, released on July 26, 2013. Written and directed by Maggie Carey in her feature film directorial debut, the film stars Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Rachel Bilson. The film is about a high school senior (Plaza), who feels she needs to have more sexual experiences before she starts college.
Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza), from Boise, Idaho, is an overachieving and socially awkward teenager who graduates as the valedictorian of her high school in the summer of 1993. Brandy is revealed to be the polar opposite of her older sister, Amber, who makes fun of her for being a virgin. After the ceremony, her two best friends, Wendy (Sarah Steele) and Fiona (Alia Shawkat), take Brandy to a party and she gets drunk for the first time. At the party, Brandy almost has sex with a college boy named Rusty Waters, but she doesn't know how so he backs off. At this point she decides to learn all about sex over the summer and so she can be experienced enough to go with Rusty.
Rusty works as a lifeguard at the local pool, where Brandy gets hired to as well, along with her study-buddy Cameron Mitchell (Johnny Simmons). As the newbie, she is hazed by her slacker boss, Willy, and her other coworkers, and given unpleasant jobs including fishing a turd out of the pool. Based on the Baby Ruth joke from the film Caddyshack she is confident it is only a candy bar, and picks up the turd and takes a bite, only to find out it was a real turd. At the end of the way, she pushes Willy into the pool for revenge and finds out he can’t swim, so she agrees to teach him if he knocks off the hazing, which he does.
She gets advice from her sister, Amber (Rachel Bilson), her mother (Connie Britton)and father (Clark Gregg), a judge and devout conservative and makes a list of sexual acts to learn about and perform. As the summer progresses, Brandy has several sexual encounters with Cameron and other boys, whilst trying to catch the eye of Rusty. Cameron begins to fall for Brandy and is hurt when he discovers her list, and that he was just part of her "mission". Meanwhile, Willy catches Brandy, Wendy, Fiona, and other boys messing around in the pool after-hours so she is sent home where she is confronted by Cameron over the list. He refuses to speak to Brandy again.
Later, when Wendy and Fiona come over so they can all watch Beaches, they discover Brandy’s list and see who she experimented with. They get upset because Brandy was hooking up with their ex-boyfriends behind their backs and also refuse to speak to her. Brandy finally gets close Rusty when they vandalize on a more upscale pool, but it leads to Willy being forced to fire Brandy.
Brandy finally calls and asks out Rusty, and they drive in his Volkswagen Vanagon to a popular make-out spot to get it on. The sex is very short, disappointing Brandy. When she sees her father and mother in the Dodge Caravan next to them, apparently having sex, she becomes dismayed that sex isn't what she thought it would be. Brandy demands Rusty take her home.
Meanwhile, Willy goes to the Klark house to warn Brandy about something and is met at the door by Amber, who immediately seduces him. When Rusty gets Brandy home, a jealous Cameron is there to meet him with a sucker-punch, and they fight until Brandy breaks it up. She compliments each one out on their good qualities, then apologizes sincerely to Cameron for what she did and offers her own view of sex.
Afterwards, she seeks out Wendy and Fiona to apologize to them. She sings "Wind Beneath My Wings" under Wendy's window, and the two girls eventually join in, back together again as friends. Brandy meets up with Willy at the pool, who offers her his job if she comes back next summer as he had decided to quit and chase the Grateful Dead before Jerry Garcia dies.
Brandy and Cameron meet again at Georgetown University where they both are studying. Cameron confesses he had sex once sometime after the whole to do list with an unnamed girl but Brandy tells him that she doesn't care. They have sex in her dorm room and Brandy finally achieves orgasm, the last thing on her list, right before her father walks in on them.
- Aubrey Plaza as Brandy Klark
- Johnny Simmons as Cameron Mitchell
- Bill Hader as Willy
- Scott Porter as Rusty Waters
- Alia Shawkat as Fiona
- Rachel Bilson as Amber Klark
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Duffy
- Andy Samberg as Van
- Connie Britton as Jean Klark
- Clark Gregg as Judge George Klark
- Donald Glover as Derrick
- Sarah Steele as Wendy
- Adam Pally as Chip
- Jack McBrayer as Hillcrest Pool manager
The script was originally entitled The Handjob. The film was rejected by studios, but ended up on the "blacklist" of most popular unpublished scripts of 2010. A live table reading of the script at the Austin Film Festival led CBS Films to produce the project.
Plaza's role as Brandy Klark was praised by film critic Alan Scherstuhl, who writes for The Village Voice, that "unlike for the female characters in previous sex comedies, sex for her is a straight-up choice, something she offers or refuses according to no agenda but her own," but notes that "there's something dispiriting about [the film's] junky look, indifferent pacing, and sketch-comedy characterization."
On a more critical front, Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film one out of four stars, calling it "a fake feminist comedy that pays lip service to female empowerment but inadvertently makes sex seem both demeaning and meaningless," as well as "Vulgar, cynical and rarely funny." Paul Doro of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel' criticized the film for its extreme raunchiness, which he found to be unneeded; he named the film "an absurdly profane comedy that spends its entire time serving up filthy jokes and then trying to top them".
During the film's opening weekend, The To Do List earned $1,579,402 from 591 theaters, opening in 15th place. This was below expectations, the Los Angeles Times predicted an opening weekend of $2–3 million, and CBS Films was expecting $2 million.
- "CBS Films Moves Up Aubrey Plaza Comedy ‘The To-Do List’". Deadline.com. 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- "THE TO DO LIST (15)". British Board of Film Classification. August 5, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Los Angeles Times
- Box Office Mojo
- Nicole Sperling (July 25, 2013). "'The To Do List' director: Making a dirty 'Sixteen Candles'". Los Angeles Times.
- The To Do List at Rotten Tomatoes Rotten Tomatoes Flixster Retrieved July 23, 2013
- "The To Do List is Quick, Messy, and Fitfully Pleasurable". The Village Voice, July 22, 2013. Retrieved on July 22, 2013.
- Amy Kaufman (July 25, 2013). "'The Wolverine' to break big-budget box office dry spell". Los Angeles Times.
- Ray Subers (July 25, 2013). "Forecast: 'Wolverine' To Go Berserk On Box Office This Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com.
- Ray Subers (July 28, 2013). "Weekend Report: 'Wolverine' Bleeds, But Still Easily Leads". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. "The To-Do List earned just $1.58 million. That's disappointing considering the movie has received a solid marketing and publicity push."