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The Best of 2010: 'Easy A'

Rating:
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An extremely enjoyable film, akin to the early works of director John Hughes (which are often referenced in Easy A). This is one of those great teen comedies that knows where its heart is and knows what it has to say, proudly. More often than not, most comedies of this brand stoop to toilet humor and pop culture jokes that are as popular as the monthly fads. However, Bert V. Royal’s script and Will Gluck’s direction are a very clever blend of witty banter, satire, and homegrown horrors.

The film sports an outstanding cast including Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, and Amanda Bynes. But the real prize goes to its star, Emma Stone, who carries this film like it was the easiest and most obvious thing since women invented protection. Her character, Olive, is a feisty, intelligent, but self-deprecating girl that is stuck in the early horror that is high school. She is one of the few truly-human types that care too much for her own good. So much so, that she decides to help a fellow friend by “fake-rocking-his-world” in order for him to fit in and avoid further abuse. This is where and why the premise works. In order to make a film about a teenage girl who becomes the lady of the night to her fellow boy students, she has to, in actuality, maintain her chastity. The humorous irony of all this is heightened by Olive’s unorthodox parents who seem too cool about everything. Tucci and Clarkson’s easy-going demeanors are the dreams of every awkward teen, but their combination of great intelligence and deep understanding is worth seeing, if not also eyebrow-raising for any concerned parent. The difficulties and conflicts of interest soon begin to overwhelm Olive, and this is where the real lessons are to be learned.

The screenplay also does a great job of not stooping to sermon-like tactics or implausible consequences in order for lessons to be learned. The film is generally very realistic, in the opinion of this reviewer who spent the last half of the 90’s and early 2000’s trying to survive in that world. Easy A also makes a wonderful literary reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and not to the lesser film adaptation of the same name (an amusing bit of wit) to bridge its story from the post-modern to the classical. The film is meant to be a classic as well.