Having grown up on John Hughes’ films in the 80’s, I am a sucker for any attempt by Hollywood to channel the dead director’s mojo to breath life into a modern day teen comedy. In that vein, Easy A goes a step further than most and actually pays homage to Hughes by making references to a handful of the director’s movies along the way. Though the nostalgic inducing references are cute, they really weren’t necessary, since Easy A can stand on its own merit. Not that the movie will ever go down as a classic, or compare to the Breakfast Club or a half dozen other of Hughes’ better efforts, but for what it is, a fun and funny teen comedy, Easy A grades out okay.
Emma Stone (pictures), in all her quirky glory, proves she is quite capable of taking on the lead role in a teen comedy, though as Olive Penderghast, Stone doesn’t stray too far from the character she played in The House Bunny. Still, the character works well here, and Stone is believable as a girl who lies about losing her virginity only to become characterized as a modern day Hester Prynne. In the hands of a less quirky and less articulate actress, the role may have been forgettable. In the hands of Stone, you get the feeling that you are looking at the early works of an actress who will be around for a long, long time.
Think Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter as a teen comedy with a modern day high school replacing Puritan America. Though funny enough to command more than a few laughs from its audience, the movie is somewhat lacking in the romance department. In fact Olive’s love life is really nothing more than a side story that is forced into a quick climax, which given the subject matter, may or may not be a metaphor for teenage sex. Then again, I may be paying the writer and director way too much credit here.
Aside from Emma Stone, if this movie distinguishes itself in any way it is through its strong supporting cast. From Alyson Michalka (pictures) as Olive’s over the top best friend, to Amanda Bynes (pictures) as a snubbish religious freak, the supporting cast supplies a great deal of the humor here. Kudos should also go out to Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Oive’s hilariously eccentric parents. Though not in the same category as the former, Thomas Haden Church (as one of Olive’s teachers) and Lisa Kudrow (as a school counselor), are funny as well.
Do to subject matter and mild language, the movie is really for an audience 14 and older.
Easy A won’t be winning any Academy Awards any time soon, but for an unassuming movie with an $8 million budget, it isn’t half bad either.  Easy A is a nice night date movie, if you like the genre, or if you are looking for a few laughs from an unspectacular yet funny movie. Overall, the movie is a step up from eating fast foods, but a tie and a coat will not be required for service here.