Film: Easy A

May 8, 2011

I’m usually allergic to teen comedies, but I kinda liked Easy A (2010), a funny take that’s well cast and aims slightly higher than the lowest common denominator. Emma Stone stars as Olive, your typical acerbic, outsider teen whose life spins out of control when an ill-considered lie about losing her virginity escalates gradually into a notorious bad-girl reputation. Olive’s decision to help out a gay friend by posing as his girlfriend turns unexpectedly into an underground business, as she starts renting out her phoney promiscuity to insecure high school boys looking to bolster their sexual street cred. Her casual good intentions snowball catastrophically, particularly once she starts pursuing her own best interests.

Riffing off Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Easy A is a clever, well structured comedy anchored by Stone’s deft and charismatic starring performance. It’s definitely one of those hip high school comedies wherein the adult-teenager playing field is probably too level — Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, both terrific, are way too cool as Olive’s parents — but it’s all in good fun. Overall it’s a pleasant romp, effortlessly watched, and it’s nice to see a teen comedy with a redeeming message for a change.

  • Philip Brewer May 10, 2011 at 2:06 am

    I thought the way-to-cool parents hit exactly the right note. Making one (or both) parents an obstacle character would have been an obvious move, but would have added nothing to the story that was being told. I was very pleased that I didn’t have to sit through two or three stupid scenes where her parents do the wrong thing and she has to work around them to reach the resolution. Boring.

    Instead, by making the parents too cool, we got several genuinely funny bits and some touching bits of bonding with her mom.

    • Chris East May 11, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Good point! Didn’t think about it that way…