Review: Easy A
The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated
Soon after its US release, reviews heralded the birth of a star, an actress who hard the charm and acting chops to carry a film. Easy A is fun, accessible, and Emma Stone is great but it is not quite as revelatory as those reviews would indicate.
Partly that’s my own fault. Reviews, for the most part, inflate expectations. A glowing review can percolate in your head to the point where you’re more excited about the film than you should be.
I expected a great teen comedy, one that felt fresh, new and exciting. What I saw was entertaining but not fresh or new in any way. As a film it doesn’t resort to the more obvious gags associated with the teen genre. Perhaps that’s the reason people loved because it came at the genre from a different angle.
That angle is Emma Stone playing Olive, a college student who lies about having sex, which snowballs and causes her all sorts of problems from losing friends to participating in fake sexual favours, all which helps her to attain a popularity that she’s never had in college.
This is the best part of the film, seeing how she uses the lie for her own uses but also how much damage it does to her relationships. Stone performs really well in these parts – in fact she gives a pretty impressive performance all round – displaying an easy charm and never feeling like she’s out of place. She’s the glue that holds the film together, ‘normal’, unpretentious and doesn’t have the air of glamorous movie star that could overwhelm a movie like Megan Fox’s persona adversely affected in Jennifer’s Body.
The supporting cast is also very good. I don’t think there was a weak link at all. Thomas Haden Church plays an avuncular teacher and his line delivery is great. Lisa Kudrow has a minor, if important role, which she’s fine in. The best supporting performances come from Olive’s parents in Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, who are intelligent, warm and funny in a way that makes you wish they were your parents.
The film’s slightly disappoints in how wedded it is to the conventions of the teen genre. It applies them in a way that’s better than most, but you’d hope teen movies could drop the ‘I’m a social outcast’ or the customary appearance of a Christian clique because the portrayal is at times rather one note and obvious. Then again, these are staples of the teen genre.
Easy A teen is one of the better, recent entries into the genre. Watch it for Emma Stone especially. It’ll feel similar but overcome its familiarity in the end. It’s not quite as good as it good be, but you should see if it appeals to you.