Saturday, October 23, 2010

EASY A (2010)

Written by Bert V. Royal

Directed by Will Gluck

Where & When: AMC Century City 15, West Los Angeles, CA. October 13, 2010  4:40PM

"Easy A" is a teen comedy loosely inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale, "The Scarlet Letter" in which a puritan woman is publicly punished for her adulterous affair by being forced to wear a red "A". This film uses that story and humorously shows how far we have come as a society but also how things have not changed one bit.

The film opens with Olive (Emma Stone), an unpopular high school student, making a confession via web cam, explaining about how her little white lie exploded into this out-of-control, complete disaster.

Olive explains that the whole thing started when she didn't want to go camping with her best friend, Rhiannon (Ally Michalka) and her family over the weekend, so she just tells her that she has a date. On Monday, Rhiannon wants all of the juicy details, so Olive feels compelled to give her some juice. She tells her that she lost her virginity to a college boy but Marianne (Amanda Bynes), a religious zealot, overhears their conversation and quickly spreads the news around the school. Marianne leads a teen church group at school and decides their mission is to save Olive from her sinful ways. During English class with Olive's favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church) has the students reading, "The Scarlet Letter". While discussing the book, one of the girls from the church group makes a catty remark directed at Olive and she in turn lets loose with a few choice words of her own.

Olive is sent to the Principal's office and is given detention. While there, she meets Brandon (Dan Boyd), a fellow student who is harassed because he is gay. She confides to him that she made up the story about her sleeping with a college boy which gives Brandon an idea that could help him. Olive and Brandon arrive at a party where they announce that they want to have sex and head to a bedroom where they pretend to get it on. This changes Brandon's reputation and makes him popular at school but it really doesn't do much for Olive.

Soon, other school misfits approach Olive asking her to say they had sexual relations with her in exchange for gift cards and money. She decides to embrace her bad reputation by wearing sexy clothing and, unlike the character, Hester Prynne, proudly stitching a red letter, "A" to them. Olive becomes quite popular but not for the right reasons. Things go downhill very quickly however and Olive soon realizes the error of her actions but how is she going to clear her name and get the truth out?

"Easy A" lovingly pays warm homage to the teen comedies of the 1980's while keeping it's feet firmly planted in our modern times. The script tends to be filled with more chuckles than laugh-out-loud funny but there are plenty of great lines.This film is full of charm and quite enjoyable, although I highly doubt that a teenage girl simply being accused of having sex in today's society will hardly make her an outcast in high school or even raise any eyebrows for that matter.

Ms. Stone showed great potential in her supporting role in the cute 2008 sex comedy, "The House Bunny" but "Easy A" is her first lead role and it's a perfect showcase to show off her talent. She has all of the attributes of a great screen comedienne: charm, intelligence, timing and fearlessness. I see a possible great future ahead for her if she continues making smart film choices. The film also features nice cameos from Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive's wacky liberal-minded parents, Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley as Olive's school crush and Lisa Kudrow as the school's counselor with a dark secret.

"Easy A" may be light-weight but it treats it's target audience with a solid comedy that is refreshingly smart and fun.This film is certainly also good enough to appeal to people who haven't seen the inside of a high school in many years.