Now Showing: Easy A
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Easy A is the story of “anonymous” high school student, Olive (Emma Stone). Olive tells her story to her webcam in a monologue-esque tone. Although it is clear that she is addressing an audience, this is very clearly HER story. She explains how her friend Brandon asks her to tell everyone that they had sex so that people would think he was straight. In an effort to move the plot along (and because Olive is a great friend), two minutes later, Olive and Brandon are banging on the walls of a party for their faux-sex sesh.
Soon, every nerdy guy is asking Olive to do the same for them. And before long (and after many fake sex sessions) she ticks off the group of Christians at her school, led by Marianne (the retired Amanda Bynes). After a scuffle in an English class that is reading The Scarlet Letter, Olive decides to go all out and put a red A on all of her clothes. For those who have forgotten the plot from the Sparknotes version that they read in high school, The Scarlet Letter is about the Puritan protagonist, Hester Prynne, being forced to wear a red “A” (for “Adulterer”) after getting pregnant out of wedlock.
It’s very rare that some teen movie comes out that speaks to high school students while still making them laugh. Easy A tries very hard to compare itself to John Hughes films, but for our generation, much like 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls. They’re over the top, they’re corny at times, they reinforce certain stereotypes, but they remain relatable to most “misunderstood” teens. But Easy A isn’t like these movies for one main reason: Easy A doesn’t speak to the group, it tells the story of ONE girl.
Easy A isn’t The Breakfast Club, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Mean Girls for this very reason. That’s why it kind of pissed me off that it was trying so hard to be a “high school film.” Emma Stone is awesome. She’s funny, cute, quirky, and she really can carry this movie. But it isn’t about high school; it’s about Olive and her journey. The film surrounds Olive with geeks, homosexuals, and Christians, but they are nothing but caricatures.
Although I was disappointed that Olive was basically the only developed character, the film was decent. But I wouldn’t rush out to see it. The acting by Amanda Bynes, Penn Badgley, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, and Stanley Tucci was as good as it could have been for the flat characters they were given to work with. Seriously, I’m talking no depth at all and no explanation for any of their character’s actions. I’m hoping that Emma Stone will take be able to take on some riskier roles now that she has proven that she can carry a movie.
By the way, halfway through, I really started to wonder, if word at this school travels so fast that “who’s sleeping with who” gets around before second period AND many guys know that they can hire Olive to lie for them, why are there still people in the school who aren’t in on the scam?
Overall, the film is cute with some fun one-liners. And Emma Stone truly is brilliant. I would recommend it as long as you’re not going in hoping for the Easy A that’s seen in the trailer (a high school comedy that will resonate with all teens). Instead, enjoy Olive’s story.
P.S. Amanda Bynes – will you retire already? JK? But not really? Well, just continue to keep us posted.