“Easy A” kicks off with an awesome opening credits backed up with a fitting voiceover from its main character Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone). It effective sets the mood for this smart high school comedy that boosts its IQ by incorporating parallelisms to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” and infusing valuable references to 1980s teen movies.
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As a satire exposing American suburban high school experiences, director Will Gluck makes a sharp-witted comedy that shows a good deal of humor coming from its lead character to its supporting and minor cast members. “Easy A” becomes a high-spirited, whip-smart high school sex comedy told from a teen girl’s perspective.
While it has a relatively ridiculous set-up, its witty script, fine characters and overall message about self-respect and teen issues provide the needed appeal and charisma such a genre typically requires. Writer Bert Royal creates a character-based comedy fully supported by spiky one-liners from many of the story’s characters. This tale about girls, boys, gossip, image, and independence has that cross-generational appeal that allows the viewers to easily root for its teen heroine.
“Easy A” is a provocative movie filled with sharp writing, clever dialogue, and mature storytelling. It features a fine mix of lowbrow humor and excellent performances. It is an “easy sit” type of movie that pleasantly works as a throwback to John Hughes flicks. It may not be on exactly the same level, but it is still a delightful teen comedy that works like a breath of fresh air from the lousy flicks dominating much of Hollywood. This film is on the caliber of “Mean Girls,” “Clueless,” and “Ten Things I Hate About You.”
As a motion picture offer, it delightfully teeters between comedy, satire, and romance. A cut above the usual teenage romance movies, “Easy A” launches a bright career for Emma Stone. Her performance for her role as Olive, a smart high school nobody yearning for popularity, can make or break the film -and she nails the part with a wonderful combination of approachability, snarky attitude, and teen sex appeal. She showcases her refined sense of comic timing and spins comedy out of likeability for her character.
Stone effectively draws such a charming central performance to carry the basic needs of the film. She knows how to combine intellect and indifference with underlying warmth, while validating the story’s snappy pop culture referencing.
Aside from Stone, the supporting and minor characters also live up to the needs of the film being a social commentary and a comedy at the same time. Virtually all characters seem to have something funny and valuable to say. There are many memorable scenes from veteran actors Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson who play as Olive’s parents. Other cast members including Amanda Bynes as Marianne, Dan Byrd as Brandon, Thomas Haden Church as Mr. Griffith, Lisa Kudrow as Mrs. Griffith, Alyson Michalka as Rhiannon, Cam Gigandet as Micah, Malcolm McDowell as Principal Gibbons, Fred Armisen as the Pastor, and Penn Badgley as Woodchuck Todd all add special moments for the film.
“Easy A” is a smart, easy to watch mainstream movie complete with a slightly too-neat ending for that ultimate Hollywood commercial treat. It may have some minor quibbles, but as a teen comedy, this 92-minute film still deserves high marks.