Easy A is a delight

Every generation has portraits of adolescent angst which perfectly

encapsulate the teenage experience in a language that speaks loud and

clear to audiences of the era.

In the 1970s it was The Last Picture Show and American Graffiti, while

in the 1980s, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club, Ferris


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Bueller’s Day Off and Heathers struck a chord.

Clueless, Beautiful Thing and American Pie epitomised the 1990s, and in

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the noughties, Bring It On, Mean Girls and Juno vied for supremacy.

Now in this brave new decade - the tweenies? - we have Easy A, a

delicious tale of girl power inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 19th

century classic, The Scarlet Letter.

From its droll opening voiceover - “The rumours of my promiscuity have

been greatly exaggerated...” - Will Gluck’s film has us in the palm of

its hand, rooting for an unconventional heroine who finds the silver

lining in a huge, dark cloud system over a pivotal year at high school.

Bert V Royal’s script glitters with tart one-liners (“He’s not the

sharpest Christian in the Bible”) and introduces a feisty heroine that

should promote Emma Stone from scene-stealing support to bona fide

leading lady.

Hard-working student Olive (Stone) tells a tiny white lie to best friend

Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) about losing her virginity to a mystery man

and Bible-bashing classmate Marianne (Amanda Bynes) overhears the

confession.

“You’ve made your bed. I hope for your sake that you’ve cleaned the

sheets,” sneers Marianne, promptly spreading the salacious news about

Olive’s promiscuity.

Initially distressed to be the talking point of the entire school, Olive

embraces her new lowly reputation for the good of others.

She manufactures a hook-up with classmate Brandon (Dan Byrd) to dispel

whispers about him being gay, claims to have bedded an overweight boy

who fears he will never get a girlfriend, and confesses to giving

Marianne’s dim-witted boyfriend Micah (Cam Gigandet) a sexually

transmitted disease in order to protect the real culprit: school

counsellor Mrs Griffith (Lisa Kudrow), who is married to Olive’s

favourite teacher (Thomas Haden Church).

Events quickly spiral out of control and as friends turn against her,

Olive finds a solitary ally in her old school crush, Woodchuck Todd

(Penn Badgley).

Easy A is a delight, anchored by Stone’s effervescent lead performance

that has us giggling to the point of crying then choking back tears by

the time the end credits roll.

Supporting cast are equally good, including Bynes as the pious nemesis

and Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s hip parents Dill and

Rosemary (ho ho!), who shower her with love and pithy words of wisdom.

At a brisk 92 minutes, Gluck’s film certainly scores top marks for

brevity.

If anything, we would happily stay in detention with these characters

for another 20 minutes.

Rating: 8/10

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