This is one of the first years we’ve had a partner for our annual preview night of Comic-Con HitFix party, and it was CBS Films on behalf of “The To-Do List,” the new comedy written and directed by Maggie Carey, starring Aubrey Plaza in what one might argue is the first real test of her as a stand-alone lead in a film.
I’m fascinated by Plaza. I think she’s got one of the few truly original comic personas in film right now. I’m not sure I think she’s found the right overall showcase so far, but she’s great on “Parks and Recreation,” she’s the secret weapon in “Safety Not Guaranteed,” and she gives the most “are you f**king with me?” inscrutable interviews possible these days. She’s given herself permission with her comedy character to really screw around with people, and she seems to be enjoying that license these days.
She was at the party with the rest of Team “The To-Do List,” dancing and laughing with her friends, not working the room for publicity. I’m glad she looks like she’s having fun. There’s a generation of incredibly funny people who are all either hitting a major professional stride or just starting to step up, all of them interconnected in various ways, and it feels like we’re still just in the early days for a lot of them. I like “Meatballs.” I like “Stripes.” I like early Bill Murray just because he’s such an amazing mutant. They’re not his best films at all, but they are the first times you get to sort of see how he owns whatever he’s in. You can’t judge everything by what they do right now, and more than anything it’s just cool to see them sort of stepping up and taking those first shots.
Aubrey Plaza is someone I suspect we’re going to see working for a long time, and I wouldn’t even dare guess where she’s going or what she’s capable of… not yet. For now, it’s just fun to watch the way she makes choices in her comedy. The things she brings to April as a character on “P&R,” the way she embraces her task as Brandy in “The To-Do List”… watching what happens when she finds someone who can throw big crazy choices right back at her, someone like Offerman or Pratt or Shawkat… that’s what makes her interesting.
We’ve got a special debut today of an artist’s poster for the film, created by Dave Berns. Check this out:
“The To-Do List” opens in theaters this Friday.