Saturday, October 2, 2010

Easy A - Movie Review

If Emma Stone was not already a star for her roles in Superbad and Zombieland, Easy A has certainly made her one. Olive is an unpopular senior whose lie of losing her virginity to a college student is overheard and spread around the school. Further lies are told (at her monetary gain) to boost the popularity of her supposed partners, and with each one, her self esteem falls as her infamy rises. Stone perfectly fits the role of an intelligent but uncool teen, while being attractive enough that the storyline is believable. The woman has intense charisma, and I know we will see a lot more of her in the coming years.

The formula for Easy A was very much like that of Juno (2007) - a sharp, wise-cracking high school outcast with a quirky family, just trying to get by with a stigma put on her by classmates. Of course, Juno is stigmatized because she had sex (and got pregnant), while Olive is ostracized simply because people think she did.

Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are hysterical as Dill and Rosemary - Olive's not-quite-hippie parents. The banter of those two provided some of my favorite scenes in the movie - the discussion of their African-American son's adoption ("Who told you?!"), their daughter's name ("Is there an Olive here?" "Yes, there's a whole jar in the fridge.") and how it's OK to be gay ("I was gay once, everyone does it!"). I love Stanley Tucci more in every movie I see him in, and hopefully Easy A gives him an in on other teen comedies - amusing fathers or teachers are a necessity for this genre, and he fits the bill perfectly.

There were some incredibly poignant and topical scenes in the movie - the one in which the gay high school student begs Olive to help him because he is 'bullied every day and doesn't know if he can take any more of it' was especially moving, considering the number of suicides by LGBT teens recently. This was not missed by the audience in my theater either - all whispering conversation died as we watched a young man struggle with tears as he told of his abuse. Brandon eventually accepts who he is and escapes the torments of high school, as everyone participating in the It Gets Better project will tell you is possible.

That is the main thing that sets this movie apart from the one I keep hearing it compared to, Mean Girls (2004). Mean Girls was funny and a fairly accurate portrayal of high school, and I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong. But what it lacked was sincerity and heart - I don't recall a single moment in the movie where I thought "wow, that person is really hurting inside because of other people, I hope they'll be OK". In fact, the one gay character in Mean Girls is a walking stereotype, and seems completely unaffected by the rare, offhand slur in his direction. Not in the least realistic. Easy A had laughs aplenty, and a great deal of actual emotion behind it. There should be more movies of this nature and less of the inaccurate (and referenced throughout the movie) works of John Hughes. Teens should be able to see movies about actual teenage problems and solutions, not daydreams.

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