The Scarlet Letter is a book that most of us have read sometime in our high school or college careers. Hester Prynne is forced to wear a letter A for adultery pinned to her bodice for having an affair with the town minister. Easy A echoes The Scarlet Letter with the main character Olive (Emma Stone) wearing a letter A on her clothing after being branded the high school slut. Olive wears the A voluntarily to make a statement. She told her best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) a lie that she had lost her virginity to a college guy. Unfortunately, the school bible thumper, Marianne (Amanda Bynes), overhears the conversation and quickly spreads the lie throughout the school. Olive quickly is labeled a slut (or whatever version of that name you want to use) and gain notoriety throughout the school.
A gay schoolmate, Brandon (Dan Byrd) regularly beat up for his sexuality makes a plea to Olive to have fake sex with him so that people will think he is straight. Olive agrees and the event is highly publicized as it takes place in a bedroom during a packed party. Olive is then inundated with requests from the dorkier guys in the school for the same thing. Olive does all these favors in return for a plethora of gift cards. After this goes on for a while, Olive realizes she does not really like this reputation and has to tell the truth about what has happened.
Emma Stone is the star of this movie, not just because she plays titular character. She fits the part of Olive and delivers every witty line beautifully. I am sure this has a lot to do with the dialog that was written for her by screenwriter Bert V. Royal, but I could also see another young actress delivering the lines not as well. Emma Stone has played a comedic role before in The House Bunny, Zombieland, Superbad, and The Rocker, but she has never been the main character and allowed to showcase her talent in such a way as in Easy A.
The movie also has a great supporting cast. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci play Olive’s parents, Dill and Rosemary (I did not notice the herb reference until now), who are quite the “cool” and funny parents. Tucci’s jokes with Olive’s adopted brother Chip (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) were consistently bringing the laughs from the audience. Alyson Michalka is funny as Rhiannon with plenty of great lines and laughs and Amanda Bynes convincingly plays the prim and proper Christian Melanie. Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgley plays the school mascot Blue Devil or Woodchuck Todd who I did not recognize underneath the blue body makeup or the woodchuck costume. He has a small part, but effectively plays the heartthrob for Olive and the audience.
Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow were underused in Easy A, and I wondered why their storyline was even necessary for the movie. Two great, well-known actors, but with addition of Kudrow’s guidance counselor Mrs. Griffith and Church’s Mr. Griffith side story involving Cam Gigandet’s Micah, the movie fell apart and lost its direction. Had Mrs. Griffith and Micah not been included in the movie, the movie would have been more focused and would not have had awkward, silent moments from the audience. It brought some seriousness that was not needed in this comedic movie.
Easy A makes references to the 80′s classic teen movies, Can’t Buy Me Love, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Say Anything. Come on girls. Didn’t we always want our high school lives to be like those movies? Easy A may very well end up being this generation’s John Hughes’ film. Albeit the movie uses modern technology, as the story is told via webcam on a livestream to Olive’s fellow students.
Easy A is a great, hilarious movie that unfortunately hits a storyline speed bump halfway through. I would highly recommend the movie even with my misgivings. Emma Stone is brilliant, along with the rest of the cast. I am sure this movie will be a hit with today’s teenagers and even us adults.
I give Easy A 4 “sexy Glade candles” out of 5.
P.S. I almost wanted to give Easy A a 3.5 rating, but I decided I enjoyed it too much for that rating. I also really liked the way the beginning and end credits were presented. Very unique.