When I was growing up, teen sex comedies were all the rage. They had names like Losin It and The Last American Virgin and they almost always revolved around the exploits of a horny young male virgin (or several) looking to get laid.
So I was stoked when I heard about The To Do List, set in the summer of 1993, which appeared to be a gender swap on that once-ubiquitous genre. Hooray! Finally, the girl was going to be the horny one!
Well, not quite.
Yes, The To Do List is about a teenage girl named Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) who is looking to lose her virginity. But not because she’s particularly lustful. Rather, she’s a class valedictorian, a perfectionist, who has been told by her older sister (Rachel Bilson) that it’s imperative she has sex before going to college. As such, Brandy ticks off her to-do list of sexual acts—most of which I can’t itemize in this family magazine—with a kind of grim, workmanlike sense of purpose.
This is particularly unsettling when Brandy takes advantage of Cameron (Johnny Simmons), the sweet boy who has a crush on her. He thinks they’re dating: In fact, he’s a kind of X-rated homework project.
Brandy may not have any...