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Monday, January 3, 2011

Easy A

The script for Easy A sacrifices realism and a bit of coherency for the sake of ‘80s movie
references and a tenuous connection to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. (English major
confession: I’ve never read this book. I blame the education system, since it was never assigned to me.)

That being said, the movie is a clear success, if only for the incredible likeability of its star, Emma Stone. As Olive Pendergrast, a high-schooler who lies about losing her virginity, only to see the lie turn into a pernicious rumor that won’t die, Stone is charming, witty, and magnetic. The screenplay calls for Stone’s character to narrate the proceedings in retrospect, via webcam, a smart decision which allows even more of the focus to be on Stone.

A lot of the humor outside of Stone is rather frivolous. Her parents are wacky and liberal (they are played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, who are very game to say the least.) The guidance counselor (played by Lisa Kudrow) is foul-mouthed and promiscuous. There’s a cult of religious conservatives (led by a fairly annoying Amanda Bynes, who may be retired involuntarily soon), and they hate Olive. The best character outside Olive may be Thomas Haden Church’s English teacher, who is given very little to do, unfortunately.

The movie is a very breezy 90 minutes, which helps alleviate some of its sins. One day, this will probably best be remembered as the film which turned Emma Stone into a star.

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