Easy A

Even with a mindnumbingly drab name like Easy A, Will Gluck’s latest film manages to transcend the mold of teenage cautionary tales while still providing some serious laughs and genuine moments. The choice of lead Emma Stone as Olive proves to be inspired, as her presence alone inspires forgiveness of any weakness in the film itself.

The story, as anyone with access to media in the last three months might tell you, centers around Olive. Olive is a confident, but lonely teenage girl in a stereotypical California high school. She turns faking sex with homosexual and outcast peers from a charity project, into a business. Of course, the presence of a fundamentalist Christian group (which may as well be named the Tea Party) seeks to ostracize her, and her fake bedmates in the name if Jesus. The persecution only encourages Olive (who’s English class happens to be studying The Scarlet Letter) to dress in lingerie with A’s either on her bodices or her jewelry. If you didn’t see this coming, all the lies about promescuity end up hurting most of the people involved. Who would have thought.

This truly sounds like a film churned out of Hollywood high school cliches and stereotypes. Nothing more would be expect of Gluck, who’s only other directing credit comes from the god-awful Fired Up!. Yet Gluck manages to make us forget the likes of his previous films, and other high school genre movies. In fact, this film (specifically because of Stone’s performance) is very reminding of Alicia Silverstone’s run as Cher in 1995′s Clueless. Meaning Easy A suffers from a bit of the expected, but really excels when it comes to a fresh script, and some very talented performers. Among those in the supporting cast, Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow standout, as a married couple, teacher and guidance counselor respectively, who also happen to be some of the most damaged by Olive’s poor choices. They are funny, and authentic, and a pleasure to watch every second they’re on screen. Olive’s parents are played by the fantastically talented Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci. These are both actors I uniformly love watching, but here they’re mildly typecast as the quintessential, liberal California parents who are just a little too perfect.

All compliments and complaints aside, the thing I loved most about Easy A‘s script (excluding Stone), was the wildly fresh script that kept me laughing out loud over and over. Credit is due to Bert V. Royal here, who’s only other writing credit (according to IMDb) is one episode of Gigantic in 2010. There’s a humor and intelligence in the crisp writing that I haven’t heard in a comedy since, well, for a long time. This film is well worth anyone’s time and I suggest you get yourself to the theatre sooner rather than later.

★★★½

Comments
8 Responses to “Easy A”
  1. Castor says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, I certainly did as well. The main problem I saw was the framing device, the webcam confession which made the movie overly predictable. In any case, this is a really big stepping stone for star-in-the-making Emma Stone.
    Castor´s last blog post ..Movie Review- Easy A 2010

  2. Harriet says:

    This film actually looks really good for a teen film. Glad to see Lisa Kudrow doing another film too. Unfortunatley I think I’m going to have to wait till this one comes out on DVD.
    Harriet´s last blog post ..BlackBerry Torch 9800

  3. Blake says:

    @ Castor – Now that you meantion it, the webcam thing was a bit annoying. The film would have done better without it. And I’m hoping Emma Stone just gets bigger and bigger as well.

    @ Harriet – Trust me, I am not a fan of teen films, but this was pretty good. Definitely check it out even if it is just on DVD.

  4. Stu says:

    The trailer didn’t really do anything from me but all this love from fellow film bloggers makes me think I should cough up the ticket price.
    Stu´s last blog post ..Review- Transmorphers- Fall of Man 2009

  5. Danny King says:

    I really did love Emma Stone in this film, but the material didn’t strike me as interesting at all. I found Stone’s parents, played well by two good actors, to be completely unbelievable and fake. I will also ditto Castor’s comment that the “webcam” set-up didn’t feel right at all. The first time Stone talks into the camera, I immediately felt like I was in trouble.

  6. Blake says:

    @ Stu – Hmmm, it seems to me you get pretty much what the trailer says you will. Maybe go to a matinee…

    @ Danny King – I agree with you about Tucci and Clarkson. They were playing caricatures of characters. It was too bad such talent went to waste. That was the worst writing of the whole movie.

  7. Dan O. says:

    Easy A passes due to Stone’s star turn and a knowing screenplay that needed a little more bravery to elevate it to a top achievement. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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