Sunday, May 01, 2011

"Easy A" (2010) - Movie Review

Seeing Emma Stone in “Superbad” for first time, all I could think of is how this is one another teenage actor that will be stereotyped in several upcoming films. She kicked off all those notions in “Zombieland” with a knack for working her beauty into timed comedy. Here in “Easy A” she takes the lead and goes through it like a veteran actor. A tale which would have been otherwise tamed into a teenage soap opera turns into a heartwarming comedy.

Emma Stone plays Olive (what an interesting name for a movie character) a high school girl looking for an identity. Despite her notable beauty she has somehow missed the train on popularity. Her best friend is Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) and Rhiannon appears to with Olive predominantly to look shiny amongst unpolished shoes. The film begins in what is a webcast by Olive confessing to her side of the story. She begins how a simple lie in escaping a camp trip with Rhiannon brought to the place she is. In a faint attempt to continue her reason for not going to the camp, Olive lies saying she went out with a guy and had a one night stand. This of course happens within closed doors of women’s room but an open one for gossips. Enter Marianne (Amanda Bynes) overhearing this conversation. How can I say her type with political correctness? I cannot. She is a Jesus freak.

Within hours the rumour mill churns this and spits out to several mile radius around the campus. Olive despite the lie begins to like this new formed attention. People know her name and the idea of being watched and noticed is a drug like no other. Ask the reality show participants. But the reputation is not something to thrive for and the gang of Marianne gets in a tiff with Olive that gets her in detention. There she meets up with her closeted friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) and that leads to amplifying the reputation to next level. Before she knows the formed lies spread phenomenally while the unformed truth circulates amongst other students who wants to be associated with Olive’s reputation. She becomes a prostitute for fake reputations.

Through these serious steps of life director Will Gluck cruises through like Disneyland. Emma Stone is his girl who can bode those guilt and declining self esteem into lovely humour. Of course there are some snippets of astounding supporting roles from Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s liberal, free, hippie and yuppie parents and Thomas Haden Church as Olive’s favourite English teacher Mr. Griffith. Along with Lisa Kudrow spraying some of her talented charm of goofy wicked humour to provide the greatly needed cast for this film.

Olive parallels this course of events taking inspiration from her reading exercise “The Scarlet Letter” and do not worry as they give a crash course towards this fast paced impatient FB generation that includes me. She stitches “A” in her new scintillating edgy costumes to symbolize her pursuit of standing tall in a high school society of ostracizing and judging their fellow students. That adds a good touch and may be even make some of the people to reach out for the literary work.

“Easy A” has all the flavouring of a boring romantic comedy but takes inspiration from the classics of John Hughes 80s teen comedies. It refers to it and fantasizes on those romantic actions of the boys in it. What more than a classic romance than John Cusack holding the boom box? John Hughes indeed has set the standards very high for the teen boys and there are not many to follow those. There is one like that though in “Easy A” and he is Todd (Penn Badgley) who is a gentleman passionately dressing up as ridiculous school mascots and has nothing but non-judgmental crush on Olive. Even beyond my cynical brain he comes out well.

Emma Stone is now consecutively proving that she can take sensible scripts where she is not alone used for a stereotype but a brain and humour that comes along with it. She can be cute, attractively obnoxious, silly, sexy and a dork with no trouble. That is saying something for someone portraying teenage beauties in several films. Will Gluck provides a better film in romantic comedies with a cautionary tale as Tina Fey did in “Mean Girls” of course with a kick and fun to it.

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