You can count on summer movies for one sure thing — a teenager will fumble through his or her first sexual experience. On-screen, I mean.
Because so many boys have done it so boldly, reveling in their risky business and risqué language — a low bar set long ago by the likes of "American Pie" and "Porky's" — the girls were overdue for some score-settling.
For that there is the new coming-of-age comedy "The To Do List."
The film stars
As cheeky writer-director Maggie Carey said in introducing the film the other night, it's an ode to her first, and I quote, "hand job," and set in the dark, pre-
But it takes a lot more than raunchy language to make a film like this work.
The fun of those first nerve-wracking sexual explorations that "American Pie" captured so caustically and exhaustively is dampened here by the film's style. Brandy applies the same serious intensity to learning about, and then trying to master, the various types of sex-related "jobs" as she did to her senior science fair project. Much of it is attempted with her science project partner, Cameron (
But the kids have a tough time pulling off the groping in ways that are either believable, sensual or much fun. There is such a thing as too studious — I think it's called tedious.
The guy in Brandy's sights for that final spot on the list is the dreamy Rusty. The film doesn't ask much of
Brandy's BFFs, Fiona (
The local pool is where a lot of it happens. In addition to Rusty's shirtless presence, Brandy is a newbie guard and ripe for hazing. The borrowed bikini will be too big. It will reinforce why Fiona and Wendy nicknamed her Pancake, but little else.
The pool manager is a boozy buddy named Willy. Played by
To be fair, this particular genre doesn't exist to get actors to dig deeply. The flicks are designed to deliver as much off-color embarrassment and personal humiliation as possible. In that, "The To Do List" is neither supergood nor superbad, but passable doesn't exactly raise the bar.
'The To Do List'
MPAA rating: R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language -- all involving teens
Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Playing: In general release