Movie Review: Easy A (2010)

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Comedy
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Olive (Emma Stone)  is an unremarkable high school girl, she’s smart, funny, and incisive, therefore she has no boyfriend.  While talking to her friend Rhiannon (Allison Mikalka) Olive makes up a fictitious date with an imaginary boyfriend, rather than go camping with Rhiannon and her parents.  Under duress, Olive adds that she and the fictitious boyfriend slept together.  This news whips around the school like a whirlwind, and suddenly Olive has a reputation as a trollop. Olive doesn’t mind the reputation at first because it gets her noticed and it’s based  on a lie,  But then friends start to take advantage of Olive’s newfound bad reputation.  Brandon (Dan Byrd) who’s gay, wants people to think he slept with Olive, so kids stop picking on him.  Olive agrees to play along, to help Brandon, and it works.  Brandon’s reputation as  a stud is cemented.  Then a fat kid named Evan (Jameson Moss) wants people to think he got to second base with Olive.  Olive reluctantly agrees in return for a gift card.  The news of Olive getting paid for her services whips around the school like a tornado.

Upon hearing this, the local Christian girl, Marianne (Amanda Bynes) begins a crusade against Olive, seeking to get the Jezebel kicked out of school.  When Marianne’s boyfriend. Micah (Cam Gigandet) finds out he has Chlamydia, he blames Olive although he’s really sleeping with the school’s guidance councilor, Mrs. Griffith (Lisa Kudrow) Olive goes along with this story to protect Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church) an English teacher whose classes she enjoys. The protests over Olive’s perceived behavior get louder and louder, the only person who seems to believe Olive throughout the rumor and innuendo is Todd (Penn Badgely) her oldest friend and secret crush.  Todd asked Olive to fake a kiss with him in the eighth grade, because he wasn’t ready to kiss a girl then, Olive agreed.  Will Olive survive the high school rumor mill?  Will she ever get to tell Todd how she really feels about him?

Just when I thought that the teen comedy was dead as a genre, along comes this delightful film.  Let me count the ways that it’s different from the usual teenage sex comedy.  It’s told from a girl’s perspective, which is rare but refreshing.  It uses a classic book, the Scarlett Letter as its basis, how many teenage sex comedies can say that?  The parents in this movie are kind, loving smart, and supportive of their daughter, in every other teen movie, the parents are dumb as posts, clueless as to what their children are doing.  The movie also lovingly references many 1980’s romantic comedies, all of which I’ve seen. If I have one nit to pick with this movie, it’s the overly broad generalization of Christians, as judgmental, intolerant people.  Hollywood would like people to believe that all Christians are fundamentalists and that’s just not true.  The performances are fabulous, the standout performance is of course by Emma stone, she plays tough, and vulnerable better than any young actress I’ve seen in a while.  She played the same type of character in Zombieland, a character with a strong voice, who you want to see succeed.  Amanda Bynes is surprisingly good as the Christian girl, Marianne, she shows range that I didn’t know she had. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci are outstanding as Olive’s hip California parents, truly revolutionary to see smart parents portrayed in Hollywood.

Easy A.  Passes with flying colors.

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