Easy A centers on Olive, a much-to-do high school teenager, neither popular nor shunned, who after spending a fake weekend with a “college sophomore” to escape a camping trip with her best friend Ria and her nudist parents, is forced to tell a lie; a lie that might just cost her her reputation.
Easy A is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s much-read and highly adored romance novel The Scarlet Letter. Bert V. Royal’s script is left unabashed by director Will Gluck and benefits hugely from the many Scarlet Letter references, bringing an out-dated tale into the 21st century. Also by making references to other teen movies, TV series and pop culture, including the scene about the Natasha Bedingfield song, it’s clear to see how Easy A marks a new turn in the teen comedy genre and will appeal to adults, quite possibly more so than teenagers themselves.
Emma Stone, in her first leading role, encapsulates the character of Olive so perfectly, blending humour with a subtle human nature in a way you seldom see in teen comedies these days. Stone is able to use the script and supporting cast to her advantage, reacting to other characters and situations to truly shine in the hilarious role.
Credit needs to be awarded to Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson who play Olive’s odd-ball and positively hilarious parents, and also to Amanda Bynes and Lisa Kudrow who both bring a sense of disillusionment, fervour and warmth to their respective characters, Marianne Bryant and Mrs. Griffith.
In every film, regardless of how well it connects with the person watching, there are always flaws that come to light after the viewing experience. The most notable would be a somewhat over-stuffed second half. This comes after a superb opening, but as the multiple storylines are layered the narrative begins to get messier. Nevertheless, Stone and her supporting cast always manage to keep viewers entertained and the film never veers far from the ever-important question of socially acceptable behaviour, while never making it tiresome for viewers to hear.
As well as the uneven second half, some may find the ending falls foul to common cliché, but a film of Easy A’s rare stature has the intelligence to manipulate the cliché to its own advantage. In my eyes, it was a suitable and well established conclusion to a culturally valid narrative.
On a whole, the resulting film is charming, light, and far more intellectual than teen comedies have come to be regarded. Instead of relying on one-liners and crude jokes, the film, under Will Gluck’s direction, utilizes it’s cast to maximise the film’s overall enjoyment and tell a sweet tale about a high school teenager lost in the social mechanics of her time.
As the title may suggest, Easy A is an extremely easy film to lose yourself in, as well as being one of those rare teen comedies that has an actual heart to it. While it may not be perfect, it will undoubtedly make you fall head-over-heels in love with Emma Stone and find yourself, however awful the song may be, singing merrily along to Pocket Full of Sunshine for days afterwards.