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Lately the genre of teen comedies skew to the ribald and the are more
sex romps than tell stories and introduce characters that you can not
only root for but like. "Easy A" is a welcomed throwback to earlier
teen comedies: risqué, but heartfelt.
In Emma Stone you have a Molly Ringwald for a new generation: relate-able, sexy, funny, sarcastic and lovely shines as Olive, a girl who leads her best friend (Aly Michalka) to believe she wasn't a virgin. The rumor spreads about her fabled loose ways and spurs different reactions from the school population: Brandon (Dan Byrd) wants to use it to his advantage, Marianne (Amanda Bynes) the school's self-appointed religious leader wants to shame Olive and Olive decides to run with it for her own gains.
There are many pluses with this film: A cast of young actors who are true actors who can convey the humor and uphold the tone of the film; a truly funny, vibrant script by Bert V. Royal in which not only the teens get to be smart and fully fleshed out characters but the adults (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive's wry and whimsical parents are a joy; and Thomas Haden Church whose character is a new spin on the "hip teacher".) as well.
With Stone as the lead and the only face in the promotional poster people may think this is a "chick flick" but this film is for anyone who just likes a good film.
I attended a free preview of this movie and without having done any research on the movie and just based on a short synopsis, had pretty low expectations walking into the cinema. It's always great coming out of a cinema being pleasantly surprised by an enjoyable movie and that's exactly what happened! I've always been a fan of fast witty dialogue and this movie definitely delivers! Virtually every character in the movie whether minor or major seems to have something funny to say, and while there wasn't a lot of ROFL moments, there were quite a few LOL's throughout the movie! To me, it's one of those movies perfect for a Friday night to unwind from work without having to use too many brain cells (but enough so that you don't walk out of there thinking you'd wasted your time and intellect!) - it's one of those movies that i'll definitely be purchasing on DVD when it comes out!!
Just saw this with my daughter who is 13. She has just recently seen
all the John Hughes 80's movies (Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, etc.)
and said it felt just like one of them. I couldn't agree more - great
direction and just a hint of a wacky feel to it. Realistic, fun and
interesting *normal* parents that don't take the world too seriously
and want to be there for their kid.
The only parts that didn't hold up was a couple of logistical things (like a girl that good looking not having any guys following her around, and having a best friend who is such a ditz). All in all though the plot stuck together, was edgy in a few ways, and thoroughly entertaining. I'd put it on the shelf right next to the John Hughes films, and that is a distinguished place indeed.
June 2 2010 - saw advanced preview of "Easy A" tonight. Emma Stone plays sarcasm great in this one, and supporting cast works well with her. Emma also narrates heavily throughout, and though not rolling on the floor funny, this has the feel of a John Hughes film (even makes reference to him in a longing way). Thomas Haden Church is funny as the only teacher we really meet, and Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are well cast as the understanding and 60's hippy mentality parents. The crowd I saw it with laughed frequently, and there are a lot of "I've been there" or "I've seen that" moments that you can relate to from your own high school. The writing is a little bit above the age - that is to say, you'd be surprised to hear the advanced dialog coming from today's teenagers, but this movie worked for me and those with me. Makes for a fun night at the movies. Scheduled for release Sept 17 2010.
Emma Stone stars as Olive, a lonely heart who lies about losing her
virginity to her best friend and soon rumour spreads she is a slut.
Initially mortified Olive parades around the school as a slut, wearing
an 'A' on her clothing but soon she ends up in trouble.
Described as "the best teen comedy since Mean Girls" this is a must see because quite simply, it is. The comedy variety of clever performances, physical humour and beautiful word play make a combination of knockabout comedy a treat for anyone over 15 years of age that will entertain you for a glorious hour and a half.
Emma Stone in her first major leading role excels as a typical but not yet typical teenager going through life's friendship and educational battles, and thankfully with a difference. Olive narrates via an internet blog about how everything came about and her life and school reputation changed. Through some original narrative design and comic brightness audiences are easily engaged into the world of its heroine.
Stone's performance is indescribably funny. From singing alone in her bedroom to strutting around in revealing clothing and making us laugh at the same time has made her a star for the future. One scene where she pretends to have it on in a bedroom is very funny and whilst marketed as a comedy, the inevitable drama sequences show Stone as a rock.
Stone steals the film but thanks to the experience of Stanley Tucci and Thomas Haden Church we have an array of comic genius. Tucci has never been funnier.
The plot boasts some great twists and turns whilst marketing some great songs on its soundtrack. The way it separates itself from the normal comedy, by diversifying itself through visual aids such as the live web blog or plot differentiations makes it one out watch over and over again.
A couple of drawbacks include the fact Lisa Kudrow cannot shake the Phoebe tag and the ending is slightly predictable.
These minor things aside this is a knockabout comedy with a great lead performance that is certainly worth checking out.
Through much of the beginning of "Easy A," you have to find all the
'80s teen comedy homages fishy. Maybe director Will Gluck and Burt V.
Royal are trying to dress up a classic Hughesian formula with modern
banter and social media references. Then, somewhere near the halfway
point, comes the admission. Olive, played by up-and-comer Emma Stone,
confesses she wants her life to have a "Sixteen Candles" or "Breakfast
Club" or "Say Anything" moment. Ah, and suddenly this is homage
territory -- much better. Like the rest of this hip, fun and
surprisingly touching comedy, any time "Easy A" wanders down the path
of cliché, a killer line or great scene nullifies it.
It all begins and ends with Stone, who can do a little bit of everything, which ought to ensure her a long career. She can do typical teen comedy lead autopilot/earn our sympathy, she can command the improvisation-like tangential dry humor that has defined the comedies of the last five or so years and she can be the sensitive, fragile Molly Ringwald type. Nothing feels forced or unnatural in her performance. She seems to be having fun and milking to goofy nature of Royal's script.
More importantly, the reason "Easy A" is so good is because it never stops being about Olive's story. A high school nobody, Olive lets her best friend (Alyson Michalka) pressure her into lying about losing her virginity. The simple lie gets overheard by the super-Christian Miss Everybody (Amanda Bynes) and suddenly everyone sees Olive differently, or sees her period. After deciding to embrace the attention as school slut (the story reaches here a bit), Olive then starts to pretend to have sex with guys in need of a reputation boost, which consequently sullies her own.
The only real problem with "Easy A" is that there's no good reason to believe Stone was this unattractive nobody given her actual attractiveness and the friends she has -- and we're supposed to believe that suddenly everyone is interested in her because she lost her virginity. Gluck tries to spin this into a positive by making it almost comical how everyone is staring at her or waiting in a perfect line for her to come down the hall, but it's the one scratch in this gem -- take it or leave it. The script and humor and situations that arise eventually more than make up for this road bump.
Gluck's filmmaking is hip and common of modern comedy while the writing is clever and spontaneous. For no logical reason, a scene when Olive's gay friend Brandon (the one she helps first) comes over, Stone and Patricia Clarkson, who plays her mother, do this quick exchange of pretending they're in the Old South and a boy has come over and asked for her. Though completely random and a bit forced, they actually work well at making the characters seem more organic, which is the challenge of most comedies, especially those made today.
Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as the parents are the comic relief. When was the last time parents in a teen comedy were genuine comic relief? They walk a fine line between wacko and genuinely caring and loving parents, but it totally works. Two more originally funny parents haven't existed on film before. Characters such as the aforementioned best friend Rhiannon and Bynes' are more by-the-book as far as being teen comedy stencils, but like every other small flaw with the film, they're covered up by all the multi-dimesional and more interesting ones. Worthy of mention are school faculty members played by Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow and Malcolm MacDowell.
Most intriguing of all is how the film actually succeeds at finding moments of genuine drama. A few well-thought-out and creative plot twists introduce an intelligence seemingly foreign to these kinds of comedies. The key once again comes from staying focused on Olive's story. The film is structured as a retelling with narration from Olive, so it's told in a reflective manner, which ultimately keeps it from veering off course. It's about Olive wrestling with this lie and her feelings about how she wants to be perceived, along with her understandable pity for the boys who request her "services." High school's rough and reputation seems to be everything. Some elements of the high-school experience in "Easy A" might be way off, but that's dead on.
Although it lacks the intangible innocence of the numerous '80s comedies it references, "Easy A" has a unique and lively spirit of its own and is the best teen comedy (at least featuring a female, finally!) in years. More importantly, it shows that the modern teenage sense of humor and good storytelling don't have to be mutually exclusive.
It's always nice to see a comedy that doesn't meander around the same
stupid gags insulting my intelligence time and time again. I was very
happy to see a different kind of teen comedy that was much more
sophisticated than the films it branches from and even parodies in many
creative ways. Easy A is about a typical high school girl named Olive
(Emma Stone). Olive has never been popular and has never really been
noticed by anyone, and I don't see why considering Emma Stone is
absolutely beautiful but that's beside the point. Anyway, Olive,
without thinking things through, starts a little white lie about losing
her virginity. This lie spreads to the rumor mill and spreads
throughout the whole school ridiculously fast, which is one of the
bigger themes of this movie that focuses on a lot of the necessary
flaws of high school, one of the most incessantly emotional periods of
our lives. Obviously, the rumor quickly gets out of hand and Olive's
reputation as the school slut grows. Instead of backing down here,
Olive exploits the rumor mill for her own social and financial gain, as
guys pay her to pretend to have sex with her. The themes and criticisms
of high school life in this film are valid, but thankfully they aren't
overbearing and the entire movie becomes a laugh out loud blast.
First off, the dialouge of Easy A is surprisingly great for a film set around these kinds of teenage archetypes. It is much more intelligent sophisticated than the typical pandering you hear coming out of the mouths of teenagers. It adds a whole new level of respect to the film that keeps it very lively and fresh. But the dialouge isn't cocky, thankfully, and I never got the sense the writer was trying boast his wide vocabulary. He went a totally different route, and used it to the advantage of more characterization. Olive is much smarter than her peers and her language reflects that. There are plenty of other characters in the film that obviously don't come close to her sophisticated insight into the world and are the true bimbos and airheads. Their dialouge is much more typical of a teenager, and it reflects a very distinct level of characterization that had hilarious results. Needless to say I felt much smarter watching this film than some of the other crap I've subjected myself to in recent years.
Easy A also has a great variety of characters. Olive is already a very fun character who leads the story perfectly, keeping it interesting all the way through. But then there are other characters like Amanda Bynes as Marianne, the Christian nut job of the school. It's obvious to see where a person who boasts about premarital sex versus a religious zealot is leading, and these two characters are hilarious to watch interact with all their snappy and quick witted dialouge. The male roles are arguably the weakest of the film, but its not as big of a deal when the whole story primarily focuses on the social interactions between high school girls. Gossip is obviously a huge part of the story. But apart from the younger cast the older cast also fall into some hilarious roles. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci play Olive's parents and there isn't a moment with these two on screen that you aren't laughing your head off. This duo plays off each other so well and it makes for some of the most hysterical scenes of the whole film. Then there are other great adults in the film like Thomas Haden Church as the fast talking and sarcastic English teacher who you can't help but love. Malcolm McDowell even cameos as the school's principal and has a couple of short but funny scenes. Overall you couldn't ask for a more fitting and entertaining cast.
Overall, Easy A doesn't provide anything groundbreaking or revolutionary to the comedy genre, but it is certainly a breath of fresh air that keeps my hopes alive for the comedy genre in this age where there are so many god awful comedies being released. Easy A isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The story sort of becomes a mess towards the end and it seems to be going off on a lot of random tangents. And then it is all resolved rather simplistically for how all over the place it was. I also have to say that the moral compass of all these characters, especially Olive, is pretty out of wack. Some of the decisions are a little strange and seem ridiculous at times, but I guess it only reflects the naivety of a teenager, and how much we still have to learn. But overall you can't complain too much when you are delivered an overall satisfying and hilarious experience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
According to Emma Stone's Olive, "A is for Awesome." "Easy A" is the
funny smart movie of the year. Director Will Gluck's fresh mashing of
Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" in this Twitter Age is whimsical,
genuine, and hysterical. Emma Stone is absolutely amazing. Writer Bert
V. Royal's screenplay brilliantly captures the angst and social perils
of kids of this Facebook generation. Royal completes his story with
touching narrative arcs and twists, and a valiant hero in Emma Stone.
"Easy A" is reminiscent of "Juno" in its clever and biting dialog.
Where in "Juno" no one in real life actually speaks with those
razor-like smarts, "Easy A" is witty and sharp in natural speak.
Stone's Olive is a smart ass, but never over the top. She is the straight man, self-aware of the social "no win" she finds herself imprisoned. During the staged fake tryst, Olive (Stone) locks herself with Brandon (exasperated funny Dan Byrd) in a friend's bedroom. Brandon is gay and tormented everyday at school for just being. Olive reluctantly agrees to this public staging to recreate his reputation anew. When Olive removes her thong as part of the theatrics, Brandon freaks. Olive says, "Do you think I have a gnome down there?" Brandon defends that she is not his type. Duh. Olive surmises could it be: "I have a V, not a P." Gluck and Royal orchestrate hysterically. Stone has natural impeccable timing. "Easy A" had won me over at this juncture.
Olive is a smart and decent high school student in Ojai, CA. She is never in trouble in fact nearly invisible. Olive gets caught in a lie, to avoid going on a camping trip with her BFF Rhiannon (charmingly spacey Aly Michalka) and her disturbing New Age parents. Olive tells Rhi that she had a one night stand with a college freshman over the weekendreally she was comically alone at home. School Christian Crusade Leader Marianne (gloriously bitchy Amanda Bynes) overhears Olive's restroom confession. Literally at the speed of light Tweets and texts broadcast Olive's promiscuity. Later Marianne tells Olive she will be judged by a higher power. Olive responds, "Did I just get saved?"
"Easy A" opens with Olive's webcast, which is genius. She confesses, "There are 2 sides to every story. This is my sidethe right one." Olive's good intentions to resuscitate social outcasts by "fake rocking their worlds" soon make her a pariah. She is getting Auto Zone gift cards to have faux sex with boys seeking credibility. Olive's favorite teacher Mr. Griffith (disguised aloof Thomas Hayden Church) becomes concerned when she transforms, and wears bus tiers emblazoned with the scarlet letter A. She is reading "The Scarlet Letter" in English class. Also worried is Griffith's Guidance Counselor wife (wacky Lisa Kudrows). Olive's parents note the red flags. Her Mom (wonderfully loopy Patricia Clarkson) remarks that she looks like a stripper-- albeit "high end" according to her Dad (hysterically wise Stanley Tucci).
However, on a transactional date Olive realizes that someone crossed the whore line. Fortunately, "Lobster" Todd rescues her. Todd (gentle and strong Penn Badgley) says he dismisses the rumors about Olive. He always remembers the beautiful 7th grader, who was kind to him. Olive too has always been in love Todd, since then. This is the distinguishing charm of "Easy A". Although Olive is in the adolescent abyss, the people that know her soul like Todd and her parents have faith in her. In a hilarious dinner scene Olive requests that her parents dismiss the rumors of Chlamydiaapparently no big deal. Even her Dad tells her vehemently and comically, "I would take a bullet for you." Her Mom understands completely. While gazing at the stars she tells her daughter that when she too was young she slept with a lot of people"mostly guys".
"Easy A" poignantly captures and reminds us of the painful teen angst of fitting in, and just being allowed to be. When overweight dweeb Evan (sympathetic Jameson Moss) begs Olive to say that she had sex with him, she asks him why? Brandon says, "Just look at me." You can see the heartbreak in Stone's visage. While Olive is confronted by picketers, Todd tells her, "Screw all these people, Olive!" Ultimately, "Easy A" gets an "A" for its story about having the courage to take a stand, doing what is right despite what people think. Emma Stone is our hero on this journey. She is cute and has such a radiant spirit. She wins us over whether she is singing "Pocket Full of Sunshine" in the shower or seeing the suffering in her eyes when she realizes that she shattered the life of someone dear. "Easy A" is one of the best movies of the year. It's the kind of movie that is dismissed by the Academy, when it shouldn't. Perhaps, one day.
Greetings again from the darkness. This is an obvious (and proud of it)
homage to the great teen films of John Hughes. It is updated for this
generation of teens - replete with FaceBook, texting and webcam. While
this one may not have the fully realized characters of the Hughes
films, it actually takes things a step further in its commentary on
many topics: family life, parenting, religious zealotry,
rumor-mongering and the public education system.
Writer Bert V. Royal's script delivers an intellectual and comedic look into high school life ... told through the eyes of the smart, "invisible" girl. Just a brief overview will be offered here so as not to take away from the multiple layers.
Emma Stone ("Zombieland", "The House Bunny") delivers a star-making performance as Olive. Forced into a faux-confession by her best friend, Olive experiences the efficiencies of digital gossip spreading as word leaks regarding the apparent loss of her "V card". Even though this one is based in Ojai, California, it's nice to know that high school promiscuity is still met with a certain stigma. Here that stigma is compared to Hawthorne's expert novel, The Scarlet Letter.
This sets into action a series of unforeseen events. The school's religious nuts, led by Amanda Bynes, take Olive's situation as a personal affront and spend a great deal of effort trying to punish her for her sins. At the same time, the geeks and dweebs view Olive as their savior and proceed to take advantage of the opportunity.
While she is presented as a very sharp-witted, well-grounded teenager, Olive experiences the enormous power of a reputation. All of this is balanced out by her extraordinary relationship with her free-spirited, yet wise parents played by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci.
I can't possibly do justice to the script or the numerous topics broached, but I will say that it's a welcome new approach to teen movies. The usual schlock sex is replaced by sharp quips and real pressures. Do note that the dialogue is filled with much harsh language that wouldn't be welcome in an environment other than a high school campus. Further support work is offered by Penn Badgley as the good guy, Thomas Haden Church as a new world cool teacher, Malcolm McDowell as an old school principal and Lisa Kudrow as a guidance counselor (in a role that gives me permission to feel the disgust I usually feel when she is on screen).
Don't be scared off thinking this is another lousy teen flick. It is instead an insightful comedy that plays well for adults and teens. While you may not agree with all of the social observations, I believe you will agree the film is presented in a most entertaining and insightful manner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw Easy A tonight. It's pretty average. It's a film that had multiple
references to classic 80's Brat Pack flicks, and so that raises it
above the standard teen movies. Older audiences will get the 80s
references more than the younger ones. There's quite a few laughs to be
had, and some snappy dialogue. The basic idea of the film is good (a
re-working of The Scarlett Letter, which the film unashamedly
references and possibly over-references).
However, the main problems are ultimately fundamental flaws in the script. Olive (the smoking hot Emma Stone) is too cool. She's too self- assured, and too smart. It doesn't have the authenticity of teen life, unlike Mean Girls which had it in spades. Olive wasn't the cynical outsider the role called for; she was the confident adult narrator. Films that portray the hero coming out stronger at the end work for a reason, but the character was the same throughout.
The end of the film is a love story and fixes everything in only a few scenes, but it's tacked on, and felt contrived. The core of the film is the 'Scarlett Letter' concept, and it's a clever concept, but it kind of got muddled anywhere outside that. Olive's character didn't really suffer any great despair (at least the drew any empathy), so the ending (where she miraculously found love in about 5 minutes) was more a marriage of convenience than one of passion.
Overall, it was a strong film. Very confident, witty and well-paced. At the end though, it was just souless. No real losses or triumphs, no character development. Olive was just as smart and self-confident at the beginning as she was at the end. The audience didn't cheer Olive through the rough times because there weren't any that felt rough. We didn't really care that she hooked up with a decent guy at the end, as that subplot was woefully malnourished and not given any real development time.
Commercially? Okay. Artistically? Disappointing. It could have been the next Clueless or Mean Girls, but kind of wasted it's potential.
Worth seeing if there'e not much else on, and definitely worth seeing for Emma Stone in tiny blue shorts.
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