Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Catching up with 2010: Capsule Review - Easy A

Much like Orange County and The House Bunny, Easy A is a film that is nothing new to the genre of high school/college films about people who look good and attend nice looking schools in affluent communities. Whew, that's a mouthful for merely trying to explain a specific type of film, but we all probably know what type of film Easy A is before we even watch it. And yet, that is what makes the film so damn enjoyable: it is so much better than it has any right to be. The sole purpose is the charming-as-hell personality of the film's lead: Emma Stone. This is a career-making role, and as Olive (Stone) wades through her self-inflicted problems (she takes money to allow outcasts to spread rumors that she is sleeping with them while donning a scarlet "A" a la Hester Prynne) we are privy to a portrait of a smart and beautiful and self-assured female protagonist that is rarely seen in the usual sex-crazed, cynical films about teenagers. This should come as no surprise to those who saw Stone in Superbad and Zombieland, and in Easy A Stone owns every scene. Her performance elevates the film and reminded me of the way that Colin Hanks and Jack Black made Orange County more than just your average high school film in the wake of American Pie; it also reminded me of the way Anna Ferris turned a film like The House Bunny (also starring Stone) from something I normally would abhor to something that was not just tolerable but really damn likable. Easy A is aided by a tremendous supporting cast in Thomas Haden Church, Malcolm McDowell, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, and Lisa Kudrow. Easy A isn't about to resurrect a dead subgenre, and director Will Gluck's (Fired Up!) direction is too inconsistent to keep the film from feeling a soggy at the end (even though it's a brisk 90 minutes); however, Stone's performance is really one of the best I've seen this year from a female lead, and Easy A is her coming out party. Here is a star-making performance in a film that is a breezy, harmless 90 minutes and good for some genuine laughs thanks to its outstanding cast.


  1. Boy did I enjoy this movie...Even more than you did - I think it's far better than "breezy, harmless" might suggest. The relationship between Olive and her parents is wonderful as they are supportive, funny, give her room to breathe and make her own mistakes and obviously just love each other's company. The fact that I am totally in love with Patricia Clarkson has nothing to do with anything (well, not too much anyway). I really can't wait to see it again.