EASY A – Film Review

Prompted by her popular best friend to spill details of her boring weekend, Olive Pendergast (Emma Stone), a clean-cut teen, decides to spice things up by telling a little lie about losing her virginity. When the high-school busybody Marianne Bryant (Amanda Bynes) overhears the conversation and spreads it all over campus, Olive is suddenly notorious but for the wrong reasons.

Will Gluck’s Easy A is one of the only films I can think of that actually does a fairly good job at tackling the subject of sex and the gossip that goes with it in high school with a PG-13 rating. Usually, once you see that label attached to a film that deals with that kind of subject matter, you’d brush it off as a lame and disappointing missed opportunity to get serious and show things for how they really are.

Yet screenwriter Bert V. Royal actually managed to make this film genuinely funny and sweet for audiences in their teens as well as adults. It never gets too raunchy to the point where you’d feel extremely uncomfortable watching this as a teenager, but at the same time, it never feels like it’s taking its subject matter too lightly either. Easy A walks a very thin line but at the end of the day, it pulls it off quite well.

The real heart and soul of the film comes from Emma Stone who truly knocks it out of the part in the role of Olive Pendergast. We all know who the actress is nowadays thanks to her wide variety of incredible and versatile roles, but I never knew she used to be in quite a lot of teen comedies like this one.

Courtesy of Screen Gems

In Easy A, Stone exuberates a ton of charisma and likability and her character is one that you can relate to and feel sympathy for, even if you have never quite been in the same situations she finds herself in throughout the duration of the story.

Her character deals with quite the number of problems throughout the film and it’s hard to not root for her. Just when you think things can only start getting better for Olive, the exact opposite happens. You want her to catch a break, and so whenever you realize that it’s obviously not going to happen anytime soon, you feel bad.

She’s an impressively layered character. At first, she isn’t too bothered by the rumors going around school in regards to her sleeping with a lot of guys, but after a while, it starts to take a huge toll on her. She doesn’t want to be known as the girl that had sex with a lot of guys. For one, it’s not true. And two, she wants to find a guy that’s actually willing to go on a date with her and show her that he cares.

Throughout the film, a number of students go up to her and ask her for a favor. These guys ask Olive to pretend that they had sex in order for the man’s reputation and overall popularity to go up. Sometimes, Olive agrees to it because these men agree to pay her a hefty amount of money. But what started off as a fairly easy way for Olive to make money soon makes her life a nightmare.

She wants to get out of these situations and she wants to find a guy that doesn’t care about sex. Her ideal man is any woman’s ideal man – a guy that is actually going to care about her and love her for who she is, and not just her body. Olive knows it’s a long road and finding the right guy is never an easy thing to do, but nevertheless, she persists.

Along the way, Easy A tries to inject some much-needed humor in its story to make up for some of the darker subject matter. At times, the humor actually works fairly well and provides the viewer with a break in the tension. However, in other instances, the humor can come across as incredibly dull and borderline offensive.

And the film also struggles quite a bit with giving the supporting characters an interesting and meaningful story. The character that gets the most development is obviously Olive, but the other characters here didn’t get much development at all, which was definitely underwhelming. Thankfully though, Easy A succeeds greatly in telling a poignant, layered story and boasts an excellent performance from Emma Stone.

Overall Grade: B

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language, and some drug material

Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Aly Michalka, Stanley Tucci

Directed by: Will Gluck

Distributed by: Screen Gems

Release Date: September 17, 2010

Running Time: 92 minutes

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