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film review: easy a

Easy A is a by-the-books example of how to make a smart teen comedy.  One irresistibly charming lead star + sexually promiscuous premise x a great script = success.

Directed by Will Gluck, Easy A follows Olive (Emma Stone – not a natural redhead, but fiery nonetheless) who accidentally starts a false rumour at her school that she has lost her virginity.  Which, you know, wouldn’t actually be a problem anywhere but in the conservative areas of the American Mid-West.  The Christian youth group at her school – lead by Amanda Bynes – decides to make Olive see the error of her ways, and Olive decides that she might as well put her newfound reputation as a harlot to good use.  She starts charging for (rumours of false) sex, all while navigating a burgeoning relationship with school mascot Woodchuck Todd (Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley).  But eventually, of course, the lies start to catch up with Olive, and she begins to realise she doesn’t know what’s true or false about herself anymore.

Emma Stone is completely charming, and captivating on screen.  She has an easy screen presence and sass.  Sure, a lot of that sass is due to the script, but Stone’s delivery is equally important.  Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson also turn in fantastically funny performances as Olive’s parents, and steal every scene they are in.  Sometimes even the next scene, because you’re still busy laughing at their antics from the gag previously.

Ostensibly loosely based on The Scarlet Letter, it’s easy to see where Easy A really gets its inspiration – Mean Girls, and every John Hughes film ever – but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.  It does owe a great debt to the films that have come before it, but it embraces this fact, as one 80s montage sequence featuring clips from John Hughes films proves.  But if you’re looking for something as good as these greats, you’re bound to be disappointed.  Easy A must be enjoyed for what it is: a light-hearted romp, not whip-smart but certainly witty.

It’s almost too easy to make this pun, but A+.

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