Review: Easy A

Posted December 25th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Easy A looks to borrow some of its formula and charm from the popular teen comedies of the 80’s while acknowledging and attempting to avoid some of the cliches. In some sense the film is successful, with likable characters though many that fall into the high school stereotypes, and a story that feels fresh even though it is largely predictable. Easy A is not a great film and it has its share of cringe-worthy moments but it remains mostly enjoyable.

The story follows Olive (Emma Stone), a high schooler who has a rumor about her having had sex (that she accidentally started) spread like wildfire. Not only do the rumors get more elaborate, but she takes on what are essentially clients who ask her for help in improving their status at school by being linked to her. Of course this leads not only to a lot of attention and increased scrutiny but opens up lots of other issues to deal with that eventually become overwheming.

Stone definitely has the presence and likability to pull off the lead role, and even with questionable turns in the story she keeps things in well in perspective. The voiceovers and her web chat help in that regard. She holds everything together well even as some of the other characters around her are tough to think of as credible.

It is Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson playing Olive’s parents that steal every scene they are in. I don’t think a scene with them went by without genuine laughter at the way they were written and how well they sold the characters. I also quite liked Thomas Hayden Church as a teacher though his wife, played by Lisa Kudrow, had an awkward storyline that made things a little uncomfortable to watch.

Though many of the turns in the story wink at the 80s movies genre, the movie also falls into similar traps at times. Many of the developments come off as contrived, some of the actions seem exaggerated or unrealistic, and as mentioned earlier many of the high school characters fit into typical stereotypes making them largely forgettable.

I don’t quite get the widespread exceedingly high praise that Easy A has received, I expected something a little more unique out of the film instead of just the way it was told. Still though there are some fun characters to watch here and it evokes some of the same tones as those popular 80s films…and that carries with it both the good and the bad.

Rating: ★★½☆☆