EASY A Review

     September 17, 2010

Easy A is easily one of the funniest comedies of the year.   It’s witty, clever, silly, and is anchored by a breakthrough performance by star Emma Stone.  Comedies set in high schools are usually a grind, but Easy A is the best one since 2004′s Mean Girls. The film even has some smart commentary on the nature of reputation in the digital age and how easier access to information hasn’t made it any easier to get to the truth, especially when a lie can be so much juicier.  And in between its smart jokes and thoughtful subtext, Easy A also has a big heart.  That’s essential when your protagonist is cashing in on pretending to be a skank.

If you can believe that a young woman as lovely as Emma Stone would go unnoticed by boys, then the central premise of her character Olive will work for you.  Olive Penderghast is a whip-smart girl who is completely anonymous at her school until she tells a white lie about losing her virginity to a fictional community college student.  This lie becomes even more inflated after a bullied gay student asks her to fake having sex with him so that the other students will think he’s straight and stop making his life a living hell.  Even if Stone weren’t so damn lovable, the script is always does a good job of clearly showing that the clearly-not-stupid Olive is doing a somewhat-stupid thing for the right reasons.


The film effortlessly weaves in pop culture, technology, and yet never loses its beat on the smart joke.  Too often, a film’s attempt to be hip is so transparent that the result is sad and awkward.  Easy A doesn’t have that problem and its references always feel natural and organic to the story and setting.

But without the right actress cast as Olive, then the script and Will Gluck’s skilled direction would be stymied.  Thankfully, Emma Stone not only carries Easy A, but does such an outstanding job that I’ll be shocked if she’s not A-list after this movie.  Her comic timing and facial expressions are sublime and she shows the comedic talents of someone well beyond her years.  She makes Olive’s intelligence charming instead of abrasive and isn’t afraid to embrace the insecurities of her character.  Let us hope that this is the first of many leading roles for this talented young actress.

Stone could carry this movie on her own, but she’s backed up by a wonderful supporting cast, most notably Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson who play Olive’s parents.  They’re the parents we all wish we could have, not just cool and understanding, but damn funny.  Tucci and Clarkson’s interplay with each other and with Stone is so natural that I would love to see a spinoff that just focused on Mr. and Mrs. Penderghast.

The film takes its title from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.  Olive relates to protagonist Hester Prynne and her public condemnation for adultery.  As an act of rebellion, Olive sews the letter “A” risque pieces of clothing and wears it proudly.  When her English teacher asks why she’s wearing the letter, Olive smirks and says, “Oh, it’s for awesome.”  If all high school comedies were like Easy A, the world would be a better place, or at least a funnier one.  The script is outstanding, Gluck’s direction had me heading out to see his previous film Fired Up!, and the film is worth seeing for Stone’s performance alone even though the whole cast is terrific.  “Awesome,” indeed.

Rating: A-


Around The Web
  • Justmissjulie

    I’m wondering if Mark Goldberg actually watched the movie — his review could easily have been written after watching a preview or two. His last paragraph is the dead giveaway. The person who asked about the “A” was her guidance counselor, not her english teacher and the response was “A” is for “Awesome.” While that seems like an insignificant error to someone who hasn’t seen the move, it’s pretty obvious to those of us who have since there was an entire segment of the movie dedicated to those two people and their relationship to each other and to Olive. Also, Mr. Goldberg’s failure to mention Thomas Hayden Church whose performance clearly eclipsed those of Tucci and Clarkson is another indicator that he missed the boat on this one. Admit it, Mr. Goldberg, you didn’t watch the movie….

  • Chrisfawkes

    I really enjoyed the film. The christians were caricaturised way too much though and probably needed to be to make the end message of sleep with who you want to sound reasonable.

    Also having the lead being played by a 22 year old takes the edge off. If A 16 year old like Dakota Fanning had uttered that last line about it being nobodies business who you sleep with a few more alarm bells would have gone off.

    Then it was a bit of bait and switch. It was looked down upon when people thought she was sleeping with every guy in school. The message then went to it’s ok to have sex with someone.

    Having boundaries is important. If anything teenagers can go too far on many important decisions. To insinuate that anyone who thinks chastity is a virtue is some nut is pretty arrogant.

    But the film was an enjoyable watch. Emma Stone will replace Lindsay Lohan if she does not pull herself together.

    • http://twitter.com/DizzyGecko Isadore Romano

      What do you mean pull herself together? She was ACTING…

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  • Hallo

    stuff the content, wanna see boob

  • La_brown_eyesz619

    I agree… Emma Stone is nothing like Lindsay dumbass Lohan ! She is a great actress so fucking what about her age she was only 2-3 yrs older than the movie portrayed her as. it was a great movie as well . I would give it a 10/10

  • Sarah

    Easy A is a movie with a message. I believe all teens and their parents should see it. I love it for myself. I believe it shows a clear message that teens should never have to go through what she went through. With ordering this HD PPV last night I was not disappointed. With DISH I get the benefit of watching the greatest HD PPV movies. I am not just a consumer but a DISH employee and I couldn’t be happier with their pricing and programming especially the HD free for life.

  • Mike

    My Middle school kids wanted to see this so we watched it last night.

    It was a little cruder than it had to be and the Homosexual crap could have been left out entirely and it would not have hurt the movie 1 iota.

    I also thought that the whole point of the movie , made clear at the end, should have been a little more emphasized. Olives parents were pretty great and they trusted her to be smart enough to have good judgment and making the point of it being no ones business is correct. But really – there are a lot of kids out here that do not have good judgment Nor great parents. So what is their section in the movie?

    Bible thumping Ding bat extremists? – doesn’t seem cool to me to have the only people in the whole movie who are not committing adultery – or having sex as teens as bible thumping uncool morons.

    anyway – If you are going to allow your kids to see this movie – I suggest you watch it with them and make sure they don’t get all the wrong ideas.

    why did we have to see the Homo scene at the end? I don’t have a CLUE!!! Are we supposed to go ” Awe that’s sweet – he got himself a big black model boyfriend and they watch old Micky roonie movies together in bed” ????????? what in the hell?

    Oh yeah – don’t you think the counselors Chlamydia lacked explanation? i mean – no one ever mentioned that she had to have received it from someone and that Olive ( Not even close to homely or unattractive) flat out took the blame, in her own words, for ending that marriage! She did not end that marriage, the counselor did, what she did was save the husband from a horrible disease even if it was slightly out of spite. . The Counselor was banging other dudes besides the kid in school after all.

    ALSO!!!!!!! WTF?!! she said its OK to screw students if they are older than 18? She said she checked? LOL no it’s not – not even in California. A Teacher cannot have sex with a student. Conflict of interest deluxe. all this HD spam is sickening as well Sarah.

  • Kells

    What a garbage review. I’ve just watched the whole 92 minutes of “Easy A” and I’m feeling anything but inspired or happy, two things I’d like to feel after watching a comedy/romance. Maybe I’m asking too much of a teen movie? Read the rest of my review here:

  • Kells

    EASY A HARD WATCH! I’ve just watched the whole 92 minutes of “Easy A” and I’m feeling anything but inspired or happy, two things I’d like to feel after watching a comedy/romance. Maybe I’m asking too much of a teen movie? Read the rest of my review here:

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  • Helen

    I was disappointed by the ending. Leading lady Olive basically screws everyone over and rides off into the sunset with her new boyfriend, with no conscience about letting down so many people, not to mention destroying her favourite teacher’s marriage and her guidance counsellor’s career. I found it hard to enjoy such a tacked-on ending, so out of keeping with the spirit of the film. As Olive says in the movie, eighties movies were so much more heartfelt! While the film is entertaining, the ending lacked the charm of a truly wonderful film.

    • Maddy

      Oh, so you are saying that you would have-
      1. kept it a secret that you hadn’t really screwed any of the people that you said you had, and let everyone think you were a slut.
      2. taken the blame for giving someone a sex disease, that REALLY your unkind, rude, uncaring, SELFISH student councelor had done.
      3. not told your favorite teacher that he was in a TERRIBLE relationship, and that he was being cheated on
      is that what you are saying? because that actually is worse, since every single on of those things is a LIE!

  • thenman

    This is a comedy and not a documentary (notice the SNL cast member?) The Counselor was simply a parent bluffing a child (Legal in California comment) Come on! I could go on, but why bother you tongues will still continue to wag .

  • Marie

    i watched this film when it was out on DVD recently and i hated every moment of it. i can count on one hand the funny lines in that movie and even those were weak. i wanted to turn the damn thing off and cursed myself for paying eight bucks for it. i will say Emma Stone was decent but Patricia and Stan were painful at the best of times(i blame the crap script) and the rest of the characters were dull, and not relate able or sympathetic at all. the whole thing was an eyesore and i still can’t wrap my head around the idea that anyone would think this was a good film.

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