Easy A Review

Ironically, for a film that’s plot revolves around sexual promiscuity, it’s probably one of the best choices for parents worried about their teenage daughters to take them to.

In a nutshell: Emma Stone plays a Olive Pendergast, a high school student who tells a little lie about her sexual exploits and ends up running a profitable business that involves her spreading false rumors about sleeping with the less-than-popular members of the school to help their reputation to the detriment of her own.  Oh, and it’s a comedy.

The film starts out pretty clunky. Olive looks directly at the audience, explaining that she’s found herself in quite the predicament and catalogs the chapters of the film with pithy cue cards that say things like those in the screen shot above.  It’s played off a bit too confidently, almost like this isn’t the human Olive with crushed feelings but some sarcastic impostor who’s detached from the whole situation. Sometimes this works, but most of the time, when a character acts like they’re “cooler” than the audience, it mostly falls flat.

Luckily, the film picks up it’s stride as it moves forward. Olive goes from having a welcome bad reputation to being ostracized from her peers and her friends. People make posters about her promiscuity. She’s taken out on a date where her companion thinks he can go all the way as long as he pays her with a Home Depot card. And then she’s accused of giving another student an STD. Yes, somehow this is still a comedy.

But it’s in these heart-wrenching moments that the film really breaks free from the formulaic and forgettable high school sex comedy genre. We’re watching a character who models her life on John Hughes movies and realizes that while everyone else is having a good time, she’s the one getting hurt. It’s refreshing to see an honest character in this genre rather than another sex-obsessed catch-phrase spewing caricature.

What feels clunky at first becomes poignant by the film’s final act. Olive’s direct addresses to the camera and the audience forces us to realize that we’re the villains, if not in the film, then in real life. The easy girls, the sluts, and the whores that are frequently the butt of all jokes and insults suddenly get an icon to champion their cause: that they’re human too. Of course, the film walks the careful line of having a protagonist who’s not actually a whore but who is rumored to be one. Because the sad thing is, if she actually was, the audience might think that she’s getting what she deserves.

So with a few nods to John Hughes’ movies (and a couple of clips and word-for-word dialogue thrown in as well), a dash of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a surprisingly intelligent debate about the exploitation of characters of presumed “low moral character” by those of high morals, and a Juno-esque central character you have the recipe for “Easy A.” Careful, it’s a comedy with some kick to it.

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