Friday, September 17, 2010

Easy A: A comedy with the many alternatives for the 'S' Word

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you'll know of my infatuation with rising star Emma Stone, whose new film Easy A is her first starring role. Here she really gets a chance to prove herself front and center as a gifted and funny actress, wise beyond her years and with a natural charisma.

Easy A is a high school satire which tells the tale of Olive Penderghast (Stone) a whip smart but unpopular girl who fibs to her best friend (Aly Michalka) that she slept with a college student over the weekend. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, which this film hilariously rips, this little lie spirals into a wild rumor about Olive's sex life. To make matters worse, she agrees to fake a sexual encounter with her gay friend (Dan Byrd) in order to ward off his bullies and give him a reputation. Suddenly, Olive is the go-to-girl for imaginary sexual favors in exchange for gift cards and goodwill. She is now labelled viciously as the school slut by the student body, in particular the self-righteous Christian kids, led by the prissy Marianne (Amanda Bynes)

Olive handles this burden with a savage sense of sarcasm and irony. Her English class is reading The Scarlett Letter and she decides to symbolize the book by showing up to school dressed like a burlesque dancer with a red A stitched on her bustier. This is a high school where crazy things can happen especially since Malcolm McDowell is the principal.

Easy A skewers high school in the tradition of John Hughes films, which Olive lovingly references as she tells her story first person throughout the movie via webcam. We all know that nasty rumors spread rapidly but this generation's obsession with invasion of privacy and instant gratification via the internet and cell phones, embellished tall tales arrive to you faster than you'd want them to.

The film handles it's story with knowing wit and charm and sidesteps the tired cliches that are prevalent in many high school comedies, although this is another teen movie where once the girl has made herself infamous every single extra in the school courtyard looks at her with severe judgement.

Stone is the whole show here and she earns her starring role because she is the real deal. I can't say anything about her that I haven't said already in my previous blog post but to sum it all up she's 22 and she's going places.

She's also aided by a talented supporting cast which include funny turns by the underrated Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as her sharp tongued and wiseass parents. Thomas Haden Church provides some chuckles as the hip and sardonic English teacher and Lisa Kudrow is a welcome presence as his estranged wife who's also the guidance counsellor who needs a guidance counsellor.

Easy A is PG-13 and despite it's tawdry subject matter, no one really gets naked or laid but it intelligently sheds light upon the desire of many young kids who are willing to compromise and just accept the rumor that they got to third base with someone rather than experiencing the real thing. If there's a sequel where Olive goes to college, imagine how deeply the game can change.

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