Much as I wish to avoid films I don’t think will suit, there are some films that deserve a chance, and if given an opportunity, sometimes impressions can change. This film is one I avoided for a long time. No matter how entertaining it looked, I couldn’t quite get past the idea of its primary subject. In time, its appeal wore me down and I caved. I finally discovered what all the fuss was about and as the credits rolled, I confess I was grinning silly.
Funny girl, Emma Stone stars as Olive, a high school senior who suddenly becomes the primary source of gossip among her peers. You see, an innocent remark to her best friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) turns her into a rock star and an outcast in one fell swoop. She tells Rhiannon a fib about losing her virginity to an older college student, the news of which soon spreads. This leads to Marianne (Amanda Bynes), the school goody two-shoes, belief that Olive is in need of saving… and inspires the nerdy guys to proposition Olive for help upping their “cool status.” Instead of trying to constantly correct the situation, Olive eventually decides to own what the social hierarchy already assumes of her. But in so doing, she has to cope with a fallout she didn’t expect.
Boiling it down to its heart, this script is a good one. It’s a film about misunderstandings and the danger a little white lie can do. Olive’s untrue indiscretion brought her unwanted attention, false assumptions and an invasion of her privacy, but in the end, she faced everything with a kind of wisdom.
This was largely marketed to the teen audience and with its cast, it likely did well. Emma Stone is insanely likable (albeit she plays the role with too much wisdom and maturity) as the heroine. Her Olive is one of the most entertaining characters I’ve seen. Between the witty banter with her family (which we’ll revisit later) and her desire to be wooed in an “old-fashioned” sort of way, she’s the kind of girl you wouldn’t mind having for a best friend. Her geeky personality and a quick wit make her an ideal character to root for. Even when she messes up, we want her to succeed because of her likable qualities, and really, it’s those unique qualifiers that make her easy to identify with. (Fans of Gossip Girl may also enjoy seeing the primary male character, played by Penn Badgley.)
The script is pretty universal though it does take some cues from the classic piece of literature, The Scarlet Letter. It’s this that Olive and her classmates are studying, which is where the idea for this movie derives from. In modernizing it, the writer seemed to do a splendid job of making a story work in the 21st century, which serves as more inspiration than canon retelling. Then there is the dialogue. I adored the scenes between Olive and her parents (Stanly Tucci, Patricia Clarkson). Their scenes are examples of brilliant, quick-witted dialogue, not to mention a fabulous parent-child relationship.
Those who have liked films such as She’s the Man or Mean Girls might find this one is to their liking. Easy A doesn’t soften its message merely for the sake of its primary audience, but I cannot help but admit it is an amusing look at one girl’s diary-like journey through high school. It managed to win me over even though I went in a tiny bit biased. I’ll attribute that to Emma Stone’s Olive and, of course, the sweet and corny (but perfect) romantic ending. If you want something fun for a Saturday afternoon, Easy A is that and then some.
Have you seen this one? What was your opinion? I’d love to read your thoughts.
Content Note: Easy A does contain some crude and sexual humor. Easy A is rated PG-13.
Photos: Sony Pictures
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