An Average Grade for Easy A

Easy A: 3 1/2 out of 5 Stars
Olive Penderghast:  I'm not proud of this.
A high school comedy that tries to be a fun, modern take on The Scarlett Letter.  It features Emma Stone in the lead role, basically working to establish her as a leading star.  While the film is essentially a chick flick, it seems to have aspirations to push in some satirical elements surrounding the effect of gossip and the set up of high school in general.  These elements are quite successfully met, with the script not paying off to be as witty as it thinks.  However, the best parts of this film come from all the adult actors involved, who make the film funny enough to enjoy, as well as the work from Stone.

So Emma Stone stars as Olive, a regular high school girl living in Ojai, California.  Since this film exists in a world where everyone is tan and attractive, people don't seem to care much about Olive, so she is content for the time being to spend her weekends by herself.  However, after one weekend, where she ditched her best friend to do so, Olive makes up a story about losing her virginity to a college guy.  This story is overheard by the local Jesus freak student, Marianne (Amanda Bynes) who quickly spreads the rumor all over the school.  While not completely happy with this, Olive plays along since it gives her new-found attention.

Things take a sharper turn once an old friend comes up with the idea to have Olive pretend to have sex with him in a public setting, so he can build his reputation and Olive can maintain hers.  After accomplishing this however, Olive soon becomes known as the school skank, which she only continues to embrace and begins to take on more fake exploits with students who agree to pay her in some way.  Of course there is probably a lesson that Olive will eventually have to learn from all of this, and of course the one guy who she truly does connect with.

Dill Penderghast:  Let's Bucket List this bitch.
The film also stars a few other notable actors, starting with its greatest asset - Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive's parents.  Every time either of these two are on screen is comic gold.  Fantastic chemistry was naturally achieved with anyone they would interact with.  Then you have Thomas Haden Church as the hip teacher, Lisa Kudrow as a guidance counselor, and a strangely placed Malcolm McDowell as the principal.

As I've mentioned, the two elements that kept me entertained in this film were Stone's role in the lead and the work of all the adult actors.  Stone does one particular thing quite well - balancing her physical attractiveness (she's hot) with her wit.  Stone has a knack for delivering comedic dialogue with solid timing, and this can certainly be a film that will shoot her into even better roles.  And then you have the work from the older actors, who are all very solid, with high notes going to Tucci and Clarkson, as I've mentioned.

The film does an alright job at trying to keep the story fresh, even as it hits all the familiar beats of a high school comedy with a girl in the lead (yes, the film is self aware enough to make John Hughes references).  A large element of the film comes from its relation to The Scarlett Letter, the classic book the students are of course reading during the course of all of this.  Olive eventually starts to relate herself to Hester, the lead character from that book, by wearing a red "A" on all of her clothes, to play on the role she has taken.  Some of the elements like these work fairly well due to how we understand why Olive is doing it, despite everyone else being oblivious.

The film does, however, get bogged down in clichés and predictable story structure related beats.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case it comes down to how well the film handles it, and the film doesn't go far enough into more interesting or darker places to make one care less about it continuing down a familiar route.

The other main problem I had was with the depiction of high school.  I would like to think that it is very deliberate in the way everything is portrayed - cliques, activities, the way gossip is spread; but the film doesn't deliver enough on a fitting tone to make it feel particularly effective.  Basically, the style of humor and the characters portrayed don't match up with the layer of social commentary that this film tries for.

There is still enough to get out of this feature to enjoy.  I've mentioned the benefits this film has from its cast, and it's enjoyable enough in the way it presents itself.  I certainly feel that elements of the film could have been handled better, but this is still one of the better chick flicks I've seen in a while.
Olive Penderghast:  I just thought of the funniest thing. Olive is an anagram for "I love".
Anson:  What's an anagram?


Popular Posts

Sex, Drugs, Car Chases – It’s Not High School, It’s ’21 Jump Street’

‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ Tears Through The Floors And Hits Rock Bottom

Out Now Bonus: Aaron And His Mom Discuss ‘The Babadook’

The Evil Dead Drinking Game

The Homesman Is Surreal, Grim Stuff (Movie Review)

Search This Blog