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
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
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
“You’ve made your bed. I hope for your sake that you’ve cleaned the
sheets,” sneers Marianne, promptly spreading the salacious news about
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
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
If anything, we would happily stay in detention with these characters
for another 20 minutes.