Easy A

14 Oct

Title: Easy A
Year: 2010
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Alyson Michalka, Stanley Tucci
MPAA Rating: PG-13, mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language and some drug material
Runtime: 92 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

If there is a Top 5 Actresses I Have A Crush On list (and there is), Emma Stone would most certainly be in that Top 5, right along with Zooey Deschanel, Carey Mulligan, Natalie Portman and Ellen Page, so yeah, I was damn excited to see Easy A, Ms. Stone’s first real stab at a leading role. And I’m happy to say that with this film she should most definitely finish cementing herself as one of the best young actresses around, a distinction she has been shaping up with solid supporting roles in Superbad and Zombieland in the last few years. With this film she proves she has what it takes to carry a film as the sole lead actress, a fact that shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anybody who has been following her in the past few years. Plus she has already signed up for Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot, so yeah, we’ll have plenty of Emma Stone on our screens for years to come, and that’s a very good thing to have.

Ms. Stone plays Olive Penderghast, a girl who attends a high school in Easy Ojai and that goes by her highschool life without many people really noticing her, she’s not an outcast, but she’s not the most popular girl in high school, either. The high school Olive attends is unlike any other high school in America it would seem, because losing one’s virginity while still in high school is apparently the most appalling thing one could do and is basically unheard of. And then Olive makes up a rumor that she lost her virginity, so that she doesn’t have to admit to her persistent best friend that she spent a whole weekend alone at her place. She tells her friend only to get her off her case at first, tells her she did it with a college boy so that no one could know him, but they are overheard by Marianne, the school’s uber-religious girl who spreads the rumor to make Olive the example of what not to do. But instead, obviously, she becomes the most talked-about girl in school and her popularity sky-rockets.

And so we follow Olive through the consequences of said rumor, and its a really fun ride, mostly because this movie just has a tremendous cast. Not only is Ms. Stone pitch-perfect in the leading role, but Easy A was lucky enough to get Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson to play her parents, and they provide with some really funny scenes. And so it is, Olivie now becomes the center of attention at her school, and she uses the fact that she’s seemingly the only one at her school that’s not a virgin to her advantage, telling people she’s slept with some outcasts at her school so people stop bullying them, having the power to grant them new reputations, and pretty much becomes the leader of the high school social ladder, at one point pretending to have wild and loud sex with her gay bestfriend so that the other guys at the school stop bothering him.

I thought Easy A was just a pretty damn impeccable high-school comedy, because not only is it very funny, but also because it’s relentlessly smart, and that’s an unfailing combo that hasn’t been put to such amazing use since that other redhead-starring high school comedy, Mean Girls. This is one seriously witty film, with a really intelligent sense of irony and it works so damn well because of Ms. Stone, she’s amazing and she makes Olive and seriously great for the audience, and these films need the audience to love the leading character, and that’s all on Emma Stone, who should become a bonafide leading actress after this film, which has already made over $50 million on its very cheap budget of around $8 million, so yes, these are all great signs.

The performance Ms. Stone gives, while obviously no Oscar bait because of the genre and tone of the film, is still a tremendous performance for the type of film this is, the sort of performance hasn’t been seen since Lindsay Lohan’s in the aforementioned Mean Girls or Alicia Silverstone’s in Clueless. Though, from what I’ve seen from Ms. Stone’s public appearances, she won’t go down the Lohan route, and the Spider-Man reboot will probably be amazing, unlike what Batman & Robin was for Ms. Silverstone when she played Batgirl.

Another thing this one shares with Clueless is the fact that they both took some inspiration from literature, Clueless was of course loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, and this one takes quite a lot from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the book Olive’s English class is currently reading and that inspires a bit of her story. She sows an ‘A’, her own scarlet letter, into her clothes, which start becoming more and more suggestive as her notoriety grows, and sees parallels between her life and the novel as she tells the story to us.

This is of course an idealized high school world. As I said, nowadays losing your virginity in high school is no biggie, and in the real world anyone who looks like Emma Stone wouldn’t go through high school unnoticed unless said high school was full of daft guys with bad taste in women. But we don’t mind it because the movie is charming as hell, and with Ms. Stone as the lead, Mr. Tucci and Ms. Clarkson as the liberal parents, and Penn Badgley as the prince charming who was Olive’s eighth grade crush and is now looking at her, it will go down as the best movie of its type for a while to come, and one I won’t mind at all to grant repeat viewings once it comes out in blu-ray.

Grade: A-

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