MOVIE: Easy A (2010)

Sorry the blog has been so quiet the last two weeks or so:  holiday MADNESS followed by madness-induced STOMACH FLU!  Fun for the whole family!  But the upside of that latter element was a couple of days of bed-based confinement that resulted in my watching a film AND finishing a novel that are both about to appear on my Top Ten Favorites lists for 2010 (coming next week, by the way!).

Juuuuust under the wire there, Easy A!

I had heard many great things about this comedy, a John Hughes-style take on The Scarlet Letter, back when it was in theaters, and was cranky when it disappeared before I had a chance to see it.  Luckily, though Netflix won’t have it for a few more weeks, it was available on DirecTV’s pay-per-view system this week, and Monday after my fever broke, I snuggled under the covers and flipped it on.

The story focuses on a high school girl named Olive (Emma Stone) who, as the story opens, is trying to get out of having to join her best friend Rhiannon and Rhi’s weird parents on a weekend camping trip she knows will be hellish.  To dodge the invite, Olive tells Rhi she’s got a hot date with a college guy and when, Monday morning, Rhi drags her into the school loo and begs her for details, Olive makes the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mistake of juicing her lie up into a dramatic two-day sexscapade, in part because she’s tired of being ragged on all the time for being so straight-laced.

Of course, Olive neglected to check the bathroom stalls for feet before launching into her yarn, and tucked away inside one of those stalls is the school’s gossip girl, Marianna (Amanda Bynes).  Within an hour, the fantastic and completely invented tale of Olive’s loss of virginity is all over the school.  And. . . well?  It’s kind of fun, go figure.  Suddenly Olive’s gone from being completely invisible to turning heads, and living a lie no longer feels so terribly problematic.

A few days later, however, Olive finds herself in detention along with a kid named Brandon.  They get to talking and she admits to the lie behind the rumor.  This gives him a great idea — what if Olive pretended to have sex with HIM too?  Then people would stop beating him up all the time for being a closeted homosexual.  AND Olive would get to perpetuate the rumor that she was a sexy sexpot of sex.  Win-win, right?  Olive can’t find a reason to say no, so she and Brandon stage the big event at a party the next night where all their fellow students can listen in.  Brandon is immediately popular, and Olive’s reputation continues to grow.

When Brandon tells a few of his fellow outcast buddies about Olive’s “service,” though, she soon she finds herself trading fake sex for gift cards to a lot of the school’s loser set.  It seemed like a good idea at the time — she’s helping underdogs, right? — but the more word gets around, the more her own friends start to turn against her, and soon the entire school is picketing for her expulsion.

Having just read The Scarlet Letter in English class, Olive takes a stand against the hypocritical sexual ostracization from her Puritanical peers by coming to school dressed as a harlot, wearing a red A pinned to her chest (never mind the fact she hasn’t actually committed adultery; semantics are not the point here).  This stand catches the eye of her super-cool English teacher (Thomas Haden Church) and his significantly less-cool guidance counselor wife (Lisa Kudrow) — with disastrous effect.

How Olive ends up cleaning up the mess she’s made and schooling her peers on the perils of judgment and rumor mills, I’ll leave for you to discover.  But this clever, engaging movie had me laughing out loud more than once, and I was mad-crazy for Olive from the second scene (not to mention her ridiculously awesome, though wholly unbelievable, parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson).  All that buzz you’ve been hearing about Emma Stone?  COMPLETELY DESERVED.  She’s phenomenal in this film, and I can’t wait to see her in whatever she does next.

Easily, EASILY the best comedy I saw this year.  BAM.  Nailed it.  Sorry, Scott Pilgrim — you just lost position one to a faux-ho.


[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Comedy
Cast:  Emma Stone, Alyson Michalka, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow


10 Responses to “MOVIE: Easy A (2010)”

  1. mjcache Says:

    It is better than Scott Pilgrim…No really…wow, I’m gonna check it out. It comes out in January in Australia. I impatiently look forward to it. Thanks for the review.

  2. RogerBW Says:

    Hurrah! I’d also heard good things about this, and it’s encouraging to meet another one…

    Hope you’re feeling a bit less horrid by now.

  3. Jo Says:

    I loved this movie so much! And also immediately downloaded “Pocket Full of Sunshine” onto my ipod.

  4. Meg Says:

    Ha ha! That “Pocket Full of Sunshine” scene was brilliant. BRILLIANT, I tell you. I love that you downloaded that song, you goof!

  5. Liz Says:

    Oh dear, oh dear! I don’t like that you keep getting sick! Cut it out now!

    Hey! I have an idea: you could just PRETEND to be sick, and set the “rumor mill” going, like in this movie! Then you wouldn’t actually have to BE sick – but you could lounge around, and write lots of reviews for us! I think that’s a good idea, don’t you? 🙂 We could call it … er … “Easy Flu?” No, that doesn’t sound too good.
    How about “Easy Reader?” (pun on “Easy Rider – Writer). OK, I’ll stop now.

  6. megwood Says:

    Brilliant! New Year’s Resolution: Fake it more. Wait, that didn’t come out quite right. Actually, no, that kind of works too. STOP TALKING, MEG.

  7. Melinda Says:

    Glad to see you’re back, I was starting to worry! ….. Wait, that sounded vaguely stalker-y, and I’m not, I promise. Anyway, sorry about the sick, but the movie sounds like good times.

    You know, if this were Ravelry and you were in the right groups, you could have totally faked your own death and scored some serious sympathy yarn by pretending to be your bereaved sister/mother/husband. It could so work!!

  8. Liz Says:

    Hey, Melinda – it really COULD work! Especially because Meg has a TWIN sister! Are you guys up for this?

  9. megwood Says:

    Brilliant! My sister and I have always wanted to the Sweet Valley High twin switch, but it was never possible in person (we’re total opposites physically). ONLINE, however. . .

  10. jade Says:

    agreed this movie to me was 2010’s Juno, smart and quirky. I want Olive’s parents lol I loved Emma Stone in this and thought she did a great job but it was all the supporting cast that helped this turn from a good movie to an awesome one, it even cracked my top 5 for 2010.

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