Friday, October 1, 2010

Easy A (2010)

Will Gluck's Easy A is one of the few films that entice you the moment you see its trailer. As a teen comedy, the film definitely lived up to my expectations. It's one of the few teen comedies - despite a few exaggerations in the story - in which you actually recognize the atmosphere characterizing life in high school.

The story is centred on Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone), a teenager in high school. She's just an ordinary girl that nobody notices up until the day she tells her big-boobed best friend, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), she dated a college freshman. As Rhiannon aggressively asks for details about the date, Olive knowingly invents a detailed lie about how she lost her virginity. Obviously, because this is high school, this lie travels at the speed of light among students. Shortly afterwards, a bullied gay student, Brandon (Dan Byrd), proposes her to devise a plan. Because he wants to prove to his tormentors that he's straight, Brandon pretends he had sex with Olive.

She quickly becomes her school's trollop and she uses her reputation built on lies. In fact, she solicits fake flings to earn money or gift cards from male students in need for popularity. Besides to top it off, a Christian fundamentalist group in her school wants to "save" her and Olive embroider an "A" on all of her clothes to defy this group. Ironically, the book she has to read for her English class happens to be The Scarlet Letter. Eventually, things spiral out of control and Olive will play all-in to save her reputation in the film's last act.

Obviously, the references to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and the confessions to the web-cam made the film a little bit predictable. Despite that weakness, Easy A manages to breathe a fresh puff into the way high school is depicted in films. As much as the film humorously - yet openly - deals with this peer pressure exerted on male students to be straight, it also dissects this desire of high school students to lose their virginity. At the same time, that desire is also hypocrite. This is because some characters don't mind contributing to make Olive look like a slut by pretending they had sex with her and they get away with it. As the film shows it, a "harlot" is more likely to be ostracized instead of the guys who said they had sex with her. Go figure out why!

All compliments aside, Easy A doesn't bring something new to the genre of teen comedies. However, never has a teen comedy looked so smart, well written and well acted. As a smart girl with a lot of confidence, Emma Stone is also well supported by the supporting cast, especially by Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow and Amanda Bynes, who plays the kind of religious freak you see on TV during the American presidential election or even in the brilliant documentary Jesus Camp.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:USA (2010)
Length:92 minutes
Screenplay:Bert V. Royal
Director:Will Gluck
Starring:Emma Stone, Penn Badgley and Amanda Bynes

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