'Easy A' (dir: Will Gluck, 2010), Cert: 15
The hilarious and beautiful Emma Stone has finally landed her first leading role in Will Gluck’s new high school comedy. After giving great performances in ‘Superbad’ (2007) and ‘Zombieland’ (2009), it was about time that she took the limelight. Critics have praised ‘Easy A’ massively for its performances and its humorous script with some saying it’s the best teen movie since ‘Clueless’ (1995), so is ‘Easy A’ the teen comedy we’ve all been waiting for?
Olive Penderghast (Stone) is an anonymous teenager attending a local high school. She spends her days living in her best friend Rhiannon’s (Alyson Michalka) shadow and hoping that one day she’ll be free from schooling. After refusing an invitation to a camping trip over the weekend, Olive says she has a date to cover her tracks. After returning to school, she has to lie about what happened with her imaginary date, including her ‘losing her virginity’ which causes a cyclone of rumours around the school. This misguided rumour points the finger at Olive and labelling her as a ‘slut’. Olive realises that this actually could work in her favour and could give her an identity that she has always needed. Olive starts to wear a red ‘A’ on her clothing as it stands for ‘adulterer’ and begins trading ‘sexual rumours’ for money which emphasises the film’s tagline, “let’s not and say we did”. Her rival, Marianne Bryant (Amanda Bynes) is a devout Christian who battles to make Olive pay for her sins. Her loveable and zany parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) start to notice Olive’s strange behaviour and realise that soon she is going to get hurt. Now Olive needs to decide whether having an identity at high school is actually a good thing or not.
Firstly, the thing that really separates this movie from any of your other standard teen comedies is the style. ‘Easy A’ wants to be a John Hughes movie, and makes various jokes about it. This is an 80’s movie set in 2010. Rather than dwelling on boring stereotyped characters (‘The Jock’, ‘The Cheerleader’ ect.), this movie focuses on people who attend high school, not who ‘live’ it. It doesn’t even run any of the standard teen plotlines either (for example: A group of guys needs to lose their virginity before graduation), which considering this film is basically about sex, it could of very easily fallen into that dull repetitive trap, instead the movie is partly based on ‘The Scarlett Letter’ which Olive’s English class are reading; it’s an 1800’s novel about adultery and sin in which the female protagonist is forced to wear a red ‘A’ for her sexual sins.
The other great thing about this movie is how it’s been advertised and promoted, hardly anything has been given away and only scraps of the story are apparent in the trailer which leaves the audience with some nice surprises throughout.
So much credit needs to go to the movie’s writer, Bert V. Royal because the script is a knockout. It’s bittersweet, incredibly funny and immensely charming. The film is also beautifully made and crafted. Gluck’s direction is great and the film’s editing is fantastic.
The performances are brilliant too; Stone is an utter star and gives a crippling funny and heart-warming account of a confused teenage girl. She nails the sarcasm Olive has which makes some of her jokes feel like a twisted blade; it’s her best performance to date. Bynes is also very funny as a crazy Christian and she packs some really funny lines, but the film’s best lines come from Tucci, his performance as Olive’s father, Dill, is wonderful. He easily has the funniest line in the movie regarding adoption and his wacky and loveable ego makes you smile and giggle throughout.
In regards to the comments saying it’s the best since ‘Clueless’, I think that’s untrue. ‘Clueless’ is a classic Chick-Flick, I wouldn’t call ‘Easy A’ a Chick-Flick at all, in fact, it’s just an awesome comedy that everybody can enjoy. This movie doesn’t want a genre stereotype, it’s a blend of cinema; it’s a John Hughes cocktail with a sexy zest and a killer contemporary script.
‘Easy A’ defies the mundane cinematic style and substance of the common teen flick and pays homage to the greatest of schooling cinema, it revels in references and quirks that sweep a silly smile across your face and make you realise there is more to this genre than just some ‘ugly duckling’ dreaming to be the prom queen. It’s one of my favourites this year and I can’t think of a better comedy in 2010 than this.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 – Just go and see it; this is the perfect package. Side-splitting, original and Stone’s ticket to major stardom. It’s easily an A+
By Chris Haydon