Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgely, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Stanley Tucci
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Cinematography: Michael Grady
Original Score: Brad Segal
Running Time: 93 mins.
Taking the same teen-movie root as Clueless and Mean Girls, Easy A is less concerned with cheesey High School romance and more concerned with sassy know-it-all’s who narrate their own story and have bags of attitude to spare whilst surrounding themselves with the quirkiest characters imaginable. Thus your enjoyment of Easy A will very much hinge upon whether or not you can take another such film and can over-look some rather desperate attempts at quirky characters this side of Napoleon Dynamite. Grounding the film though is Emma Stone (of Superbad and Zombieland fame), and truth be told this is very much Stone’s star vehicle displaying the same level of likeability and grounded characterisation found in both her previous turns, it’s little wonder she was picked as the new romantic interest for Peter Parker!
Offering up a character much like that of the pre-crazy days Lindsay Lohan, that is to say one who craves acceptance yet accepts her place in the middle of the school food-chain! We know this because, as is common-place, we are told via Olive’s (Stone) opening salvo as she walks through the school grounds pointing out the jocks, geeks etc etc. In fact this scene oddly mirrors Kick-Ass’ opening except minus the superhero aspirations, not a bad thing but serves to prove that this oh-so-clever high school routine is become a bit tired, especially after this year has already seen too many quirky comedies starring quirky characters finding themselves in quirky situations, that’s far too much quirk for one person to take.
So basically Oliver starts a rumour that she has lost her cherry, so to speak, and basically ends up with a reputation as the school hussy, something further helped/worsened when she agrees to fake an encounter with her gay friend to prove his “straight-ness”, as with all these kind of exploits it does not end well with Olive at first embracing and then hating her new-found status, will she work it all out and get her childhood sweetheart? I think you know the answer to that…
But it is not the predictable elements (which are actually handled very well) but the attempts are something a bit more “out-there” that don’t quite gel on one hand is the slightly hip teacher (Haden Church) who pitches it just right, hitting the cool vibes while keeping it just the right side of appropriate while on the other hand are Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive’s parents. Both fine actors and both usually reliable to inject something different into a role, sadly on this occasion that “different” part is just way off base, trying to be hip-and-trendy parents and just coming off as plain creepy and unbelievable, all that asides from the total lack of likeness between supposed parents and child in looks or personality.
These kind of mishaps don’t relegate the film to unwatchability but it just means that some scenes feel lost and out of sync with the film as a whole, thankfully Stone is always there to provide a chuckle with her sassy comments and flippant nature, a hero that we can root for is a big plus but hopefully she is an actress that can find something more worthy, and worthwhile, than this kind of deja-vu project.
Easy A is a by the numbers quirky teen-movie, problem is there’s too much quirk making for a confused experience grounded by another solid performance from its star.