Old 09-16-2010, 10:09 PM
Will Gluck's Easy A

Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:



Easy A (2010)

Will Gluck's "Easy A" reminded me a lot of "Dinner for Schmucks," not in plot, but in my perception of the film before the screening began. Here was another film that had trailers and TV spots making it looks like a ghastly experience devoid of laughs and one that would have me checking my watch every minute or two. Fortunately, what we get is a surprisingly funny film that has some charm to it, which is not something you hear applied to comedies all that often.

It tells the story of Olive (Emma Stone), who, at the beginning of the film, is trying to set the record straight about what has happened recently. It all started with an innocent excuse to get out of a camping trip with her friend, Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka). Olive tells her that she has a date with a friend of her brother's that weekend when she really has absolutely nothing planned. Upon returning to school the next week, Rhiannon somehow gets the notion that Olive must have slept with this guy she was supposedly with.

The rumor spreads like wildfire until everyone knows about it with all eyes trained on her as she walks down the halls. The entire thing begins to balloon out of control after she helps a homosexual friend of hers, Brandon (Dan Byrd), by pretending to make out with him behind closed doors at a party. Soon after this, several other guys are paying her with gift cards to have rumors spread about them and Olive. The rest of the film deals with how Olive handles this new-found fame from being considered a slut of sorts, despite the fact that she hasn't done any of the things that are going around the rumor mill.

After having sat through numerous comedies that try to force jokes on the audience, usually jokes of incredibly low taste, it's refreshing to see one as clever as this. The humor is actually witty and allowed to arise in the situation itself instead of having it forced into the scene. Several of the jokes in the film are sex-related, but not in a gratuitous kind of way, mainly because the jokes are just talk of things happening that never actually occur.

Emma Stone really gets a chance to shine after having played smaller parts in several films such as another recently well-done comedy, "Zombieland." However, the best performances come from the supporting cast, which features several well-known faces. Thomas Hayden Church plays one of Olive's teachers who has some fantastic dry-humor scenes in the film. Lisa Kudrow, who seemed to vanish after "Friends," plays the school's guidance councilor who goes through a strange situation of her own later in the film.

Many of the best parts of the film feature Olive's parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. They are rather eccentric parents who have an inkling of what's going on and are concerned about it, but leave it up to their daughter to figure out how she wants to handle it. Their scenes have a charm all their own as they try to discuss their daughter's situation in the presence of their adopted younger child.

All of this was well and good, but then, about halfway through the film and amid all of this humor, I started to notice that the film didn't really have much of a plot. The whole film is about these rumors and how Olive changes because of them, but not much else, making it feel like a series of comedic episodes. It tries to throw in some parallels with "The Scarlet Letter," which she just happens to be studying in class, but aside from being ostracized for her actions (or supposed actions) like the main character of the book, there isn't much point in this aside from cracking a few good jokes about the terrible Demi Moore version of the film.

The lack of plot became much more evident when the tone changes to a more dramatic mood in the third act and the laughs start to slow down. They don't stop completely, just enough so that the conclusion can have a slightly more serious tone than if they had left it entirely as a comedic film. Luckily, the film has an interesting ending, so this doesn't become too bothersome.

Overall, I think the slimness of the plot is forgivable mainly because of how funny it is and how great the supporting cast is. "Easy A" ends up being an interesting look at the way some rumors can spread around schools pretty quickly (though there's more than one scene in here that exaggerates it quite a bit) while delivering a lot of laughs along the way and some entertaining performances, which is a lot more than most recent comedies can claim. 3/4 stars.

Last edited by Hal2001; 09-16-2010 at 10:28 PM..
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:21 AM
Doesn't look too good.

I hope your right. But judging just by the trailers alone it looks like a dog of a movie. I like Emma Stone but a bad movie could stunt her chances at leading roles in the future.
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