Review: Easy A (TIFF)
PLOT: A high-school senior (Emma Stone) with a flawless reputation, unwittingly becomes knows as the school slut once a rumor spins out of control. She uses this new reputation to her advantage after a whole slew of guys, eager to be thought of as studs, pay her to tell people she had sex with them.
REVIEW: I realize Im more than a little late to the party on this one folks. EASY A has been building a reputation of its own since debuting at TIFF a few weeks ago as a pretty damn good example of a smart modern teen comedy in the John Hughes tradition. I only caught up with EASY A at the fest last Friday, which was the same day this hit general release.
Having FINALLY seen it for myself, I wholeheartedly agree, EASY A is a lot of fun, and probably the best teen comedy since JUNO. Key to the films success is the star-making performance given by Emma Stone. Shes been popping up in lots of stuff since her debut in SUPERBAD a few years ago, including last years sleeper hit ZOMBIELAND. This is her first lead, and she easily carries the film on her beautiful shoulders (sorry to drool, but shes totally crush-worthy).
The premise of EASY A is pretty clever, with this being a sort of hip high-school retelling of THE SCARLET LETTER the same way CLUELESS did EMMA, and 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU did THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. It seems Nathaniel Hawthorne works just as well as Shakespeare and EASY A is a lot of fun. It also draws much inspiration from the films of John Hughes, a point thats driven home by a monologue by Stone about how she wishes her life was more like a Hughes movie. Umm, actually sweetheart, its EXACTLY like a John Hughes movie, but I digress.
Probably my favorite thing about EASY A, other than Stone, is her parents as played by Stanley Tucci, and Patricia Clarkson. The two of them have such wonderful chemistry, and seem like such hip and caring couple that its no wonder theyd produce such a smart, confident daughter. Its refreshing to see the parents portrayed in such a positive light, and you can never fault either of them as not understanding their daughters plight (in fact, they seem more than a little amused by it).
My only problems with EASY A come during the last thirty minutes, where the formerly smart and edgy film gets a little too Hollywood, with a big musical number (a la FERRIS BULLER, but not as cleverly done) being a particular nuisance. Maybe Im just too damn picky, but Id rather they left this scene on the cutting room floor as its a bit too cartoonish for such a hip flick. I also though Penn Badgely was a little too perfect as the dreamy and good natured love interest, but hes clearly based on the similarly perfect Jake Ryan character from SIXTEEN CANDLES, so I get it.
So, even though some readers might be hesitant to check out a high-school comedy, of the dozens that come out every year, EASY A is the one good one. Its totally worth seeing if you just want a pleasant comedy that will make you feel all warm and gooey inside. Its a happy-type film, and theres nothing wrong with that once in a while.
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