“This movie is a comedy, not a romantic comedy,” Carey said. “And this is a very smart 18-year-old woman. She is not kidding herself that the guy she’s going to lose her virginity to is the guy she wants to marry. . . . So she’s going into that very clearheaded and levelheaded. Even though she’s naïve in a way, she’s also savvy.”’
Carey, like Brandy, grew up in Idaho and graduated from high school in 1993. “I played a ton of sports, I was in every AP class possible,” she said. But when she dug out the diary she’d kept as a teenager, she found she’d barely spilled any ink over her academic and athletic achievements.
“My diary was just all about boys,” she said. “In one entry, I was at a competitive soccer camp, but all I would talk about was the boy two fields over. Which I think is okay! It doesn’t mean, because we were curious about boys or were even boy-crazy, that I wasn’t absolutely a feminist . . . and earnestly a Hilary Rodham Clinton fan.”
Brandy is, too; she’s even wearing a Clinton T-shirt during one especially climactic, personal scene. If that isn’t true fandom, what is?
Carey tapped her real-life resources to put together the movie’s cast. Carey and Plaza met while taking comedy classes at Upright Citizen’s Brigade; Carey had previously cast Plaza as the surly teenage stepdaughter in “The Jeannie Tate Show,” a Web series she directed and co-wrote. She created the part of Brandy with Plaza in mind, even though April, Plaza’s surly character on “Parks and Recreation,” would probably want to punch Brandy in the face. Carey’s husband, Bill Hader of “Saturday Night Live” fame, plays Brandy’s deadbeat boss at the community pool.
Carey also landed two stars of “Friday Night Lights,” one of her favorite shows: Connie Britton as Brandy’s sex-positive mom and Scott Porter as Rusty Waters, the object of Brandy’s affection who seems to have the same shirt allergy that plagues Matthew McConaughey.
Brandy shares some of Carey’s type-A DNA “in terms of [her] character and her point of view as a teen girl,” she said, adding that the film’s coming-of-age adventures “were derivative of things I’d experienced as a teen girl.”
Just one clarification: “The movie is fiction,” Carey said. “I never made a list.”
The To Do List
At area theaters. Rated R for pervasive strong, crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use and language — all involving teens.