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Review: Easy A (2010)

Easy A (2010)

Directed by: Will Gluck

Premise: A teenage girl (Emma Stone) tells an innocent lie about losing her virginity and is labeled as a slut by the high school rumor mill. Rather than denying it, she owns her assigned identity but finds that as rumors go on they start to become the truth.

What Works: Easy A is a very smart and fun movie. Emma Stone plays a young woman whose life is turned upside down by the high school rumor mill and she does a wonderful job both as the lead character and as the story’s narrator. The script gives her character a very layered and nuanced portrayal, allowing her the sarcasm common to contemporary youth characters but it also gives her a level of intelligence and emotional range that is rare. Stone is fascinating to watch as her character tries to take control of her public image but finds that her attempt to manipulate the rumor mill creates a reality of its own. The film deals with the double standards and varying pressures that men and women face regarding their sexual activity and the movie makes its points nicely without harping on them. The cold castigation of Stone’s character by her peers is done very effectively without unnecessarily dwelling on it but equally effective is the way the film deals with the pressures on the young men. Credibly exploring men’s sexual anxieties is uncommon in the sex comedy and the film does not dwell on it too deeply, but the ground Easy A manages to cover is impressive. While dealing with this mature subject matter, Easy A keeps its tone upbeat and the pacing of the story is brisk. The story constantly moves forward and is very efficiently told.

What Doesn’t: The casting of a few of the supporting roles is questionable, especially several of the male characters who look far too old to be high school students. Amanda Bynes is cast as the leader of an ultra-conservative Christian group and the film does not bother to give her character any of the shading that it affords Stone’s protagonist or any of the supporting cast. Bynes character is essentially a copy of the same role played much more successfully by Mandy Moore in Saved! but she has none of the charm or sympathy that Moore had in the previous film. 

Bottom Line: Easy A is very good high school comedy. Although its characters are teenagers, the themes of the film are mature enough to give this film a much broader appeal.

Episode: N/A (October 17, 2010)