What with all the Twilighting going on lately, we should be thankful that once in a while a film like Easy A comes along: a film that honestly and unwaveringly addresses what it means to be a teenage girl in this image laden, information drenched age, rather than resorting to archaic romance fiction techniques with passive heroines who do nothing but wait for inherently violent men to make all the hard decisions.
Whilst the two-pronged virgin/whore dynamic has been poked towards the female gender for a long time, in recent years the increasingly pervasive nature of modern communications – and the expectations surrounding their use – means practically nothing is private any more. Olive (Emma Stone) finds this out the hard way when, after being cajoled by her best friend, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), she spins a yarn to her about losing her virginity to a guy from a nearby college. Suddenly the whole school knows, and suddenly, Olive has gone from nobody to “slut”. At first Olive finds her newfound infamy to be kind of fun, and before long she discovers that she can use her image to her own benefit, taking cash in exchange for lying about further sexual encounters.
Easy A is a great film, first of all because Stone is brilliant as portraying the verbose Olive, who at first seems a little too intelligent for her own good. Pretty soon she’s carrying the world on her shoulders, all through changing her image and harnessing the power of gossip. Stone really is a formidable talent, winning us over not only in the comedy stakes but also making us care for Olive in the film’s more emotional moments.
I cannot overstate how clever Bert V. Royal’s script is, either. The sharpness of wit coupled with the oh so contemporary understanding of the way the world works (and specifically among the younger generation) is practically unparalleled, particularly in the realm of teen comedies. Hell, if the trailer for the new Katherine “I’m going to destroy feminism one movie at a time” Heigl film is anything to go by, it’s unparalleled in the realm of romantic comedies full stop.
The supporting cast are fantastic, with particularly good turns from Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thomas Haden Church and Amanda “she’s retired/oh no she’s unretired” Bynes. The movie moves along at a snappy pace and barely seconds pass by between laughs. For me, the only disappointment with Easy A was its last minute tendency to slip into John Hughes nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong, Hughes made some great movies, but I’m getting a little sick of new movies telling us how much better things were in the 80s. As far as I’m concerned, Not Another Teen Movie made that point quite well nine years ago.
Easy A is a fantastic film, and sure to be the comedy of the year.Rating: