Easy A Directed by: Will Gluck Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: September 17, 2010
PLOT: Nice and normal Olive (Stone) accidentally creates a rumor that she lost her virginity. She likes the attention and lets it spread through high school. Now there are some things she can't control.
WHO'S IT FOR? Are you desperate for the high-school teenage comedy that isn't all about sex? Well this is it ... oh, wait. No it's not. But at least it's funny and a slightly new take.
EXPECTATIONS: None. I knew nothing except Emma Stone was the lead. She's been good, so I was hoping for something fun.
Emma Stone as Olive: This one is a little difficult. I liked Stone's performance as Olive. She's thrust into popularity from being just another kid at high school. It's all based on losing her virginity. Olive is smart enough to know better, but also doesn't care. It's a delicate balance but Stone gets it right for the most part. It's the script that lets her down. There just isn't enough awareness for a girl that seems to "get" everything. She's clearly always the smartest one in the room (unless her parents are there) but normally that means she's socially stunted. Olive has no problem and extreme abilities when it comes to performing in front of the school or flirting with anyone in sight. This are things that seem like they should be out of Olive's reach, or at least something she needs to practice. Score: 7
Penn Badgley as Woodchuck Todd: This is where we insert the perfect guy into the mix, because if there's a female lead in a high school movie there must be a perfect guy. He always shows up at the right time. He seems to be the only one who is unaware or doesn't care about all the sex rumors flying about Olive. It's hard not to like this guy, the problem is he really doesn't have a role in this movie. Score: 6
Amanda Bynes as Marianne: Bynes has found her knack. She's annoyed me in most of the roles she's played (like and now she's a full out Jesus freak who is supposed to drive me crazy. Well done. It's easy for Olive to blame Marianne for all of her problems and it's great to see the two of them fight and then be friends, and then fight. Sure, the director pushes the Jesus thing a little far with Marianne and her group singing in harmony a few too many times, but man, I was annoyed by Bynes, so it worked. Score: 7
Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Rosemary and Dill: They are the new breed of ideal parents. Both of these characters offer the perfect wit, care and compassion to a teenage girl who has her head on straight. The problem is, Olive isn't as bright as she thinks she is. But if there was a motion that Clarkson and Tucci were movie parents in every teenage movie, I'd second that vote. Score: 10
Rest of Cast: Is it just me, or did the movie really begin to unravel when Lisa Kudrow shows up as Mrs. Griffith? Thomas Haden Church did a great job as the teacher who inspires and mails it in all at the same time. The story of their relationship felt like it got in the way of the rest of the film. Brandon (Dan Byrd) is all but forgotten about after he becomes the first to convince Olive to use her sexuality to his advantage. Brandon is obviously gay, but wants to hide it. It felt like there was much more ground to cover than an amusing fake sexual moment at a party. Alyson Michalka plays Rhiannon who seems like she could double for Caroline (Ari Graynor) from Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. Score: 6
TALKING: Whether it's a nod, homage or stealing, Easy A takes some material from past 80's glory like Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The line "only had one lesson" is known by all, so it must be meant to bring that John Hughes classic to light, but really it's just repeating a line from a famous movie in almost the exact same way. The dialogue with the parents is much better. Maybe because that's the only time you feel like you're listening to the only adults in the room. Most importantly, rumors don't spread like that, do they? If you hear about a fairly obscure person at your high school having sex ... doesn't that really make them immediately interesting? Hell, I had feared this sort of behavior was going on in middle school, but if one girl having sex in high school is complete scandal ... I guess I'm kind of happy. Score: 6
SIGHTS: The "A" on the chest as a reference to "The Scarlet Letter" and the slutty outfits do the trick and everyone in school finally notices Olive. There's also an actual montage of 80s films. It would have been better just to reference them instead of show them. That's mainly because all I was thinking was, "Yeah Can't Buy Me Love was really good." Score: 7
SOUNDS: "Pocket Full Of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield gets the treatment it deserves. First, Olive finds it terribly annoying, then she's sucked in and singing along. We've all been there. "Knock on Wood" is used in a forced song and dance number. I don't care if Olive says it's gratuitous, it still feels excessive. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: The first time we are hanging out with Olive, her parents and her adopted brother is priceless. Especially when Dill rips on his son.
ENDING: Yeah, I didn't care. That's the problem. Olive is clearly the man character and no one was really coming in at number two, so I just wanted her to be done with the grave she dug for herself.
QUESTIONS: What was Olive really after? It wasn't popularity and she never seemed to care about being noticed, except for the one guy who was clearly willing to notice her.
REWATCHABILITY: I could sit through it again, but I would rather watch all of the 80s films it brought up.
Easy A brings to mind Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Can't Buy Me Love and Say Anything. It does this because it actually brings them up. Olive is a product of those films even though she wasn't alive (fictitiously) in that decade. It's impossible to not compare those movies with this one, because this film is already doing that. The one thing it's missing is the cohesive feel and purpose those other movies had. Olive has an independent mind, yet she's drawn in by the masses of high school. It's also a high school that doesn't feel as authentic as her home life or the boy (Woodchuck Todd) who occasionally shows up throughout the picture. It's easy to watch this flick, and it's a definitive "good in parts" kind of movie. I just don't know how long it will stick with me.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10