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

Latest News

July Box Office Predictions: Will More Weekends Continue to Propel 2015?

Paramount and Universal fight for the top spot with franchise fare.

Zack Snyder Defends MAN OF STEEL Ending; Teases Batman Connection and Brainiac

Ben Affleck reveals how the Metropolis destruction affected Bruce Wayne.

Friday Box Office: Holdovers Still in Charge as TERMINATOR GENISYS and MAGIC MIKE XXL Stumble into Holiday Frame

Despite solid Wednesday starts, this weekend’s two new releases will not overtake 'Inside Out’ and ‘Jurassic World’ over the July Fourth weekend.

Kevin Spacey & Adrien Brody Talk Directors, Collaboration at Jameson First Shot

The short film competition this weekend announced its three winners: Stephan Tempier, Mark Middlewick & Travis Calvert

Our Favorite “AMERICAN” Movies

With “American” in the title, it can’t be bad.

BLACK PANTHER: Ava DuVernay Passes on Directing the Marvel Film

The 'Selma' filmmaker says she and Marvel had different ideas about what a 'Black Panther' movie should be.

High-Res Presentation Reel Reveals the JOHN CARTER that Could Have Been

This actually looks awesome.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN Scenes Include a Rainy Rooftop Battle and Solemn Chats with Alfred

Get ready for some more crash-bang destruction, now with twice the superheroes!

Skydance CEO & COO David Ellison and Dana Goldberg and Director Alan Taylor Talk TERMINATOR GENISYS

The director and producers talk first cut, deleted scenes, what they learned from friends and family screenings, Easter eggs, and more.

Disney’s 9 Most Wicked Animated Villains

Haleigh, Matt, and Dave single out their picks for best Disney Animated villains, ranging from Snow White's Evil Queen to Hercules' sassy ruler of the Underworld.

Page 1 of 4,02712345...102030...Last »
echo ' '; ?>