December 30, 2010

Rumor has it...

Easy A should be allowed to join the pantheon of best high school movies ever. Think Mean Girls, Clueless, John Hughes's '80s films, Election, Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Say Anything.

The high-larious Zombieland first introduced me to the charms of Emma Stone. In Easy A, she plays Olive, a smart, virginal and totally anonymous teenager whose white lie about losing her virtue, permanently stains her previously held non-reputation. Perhaps exhilarated by her newfound popularity (or notoriety) as the school hussy, she charitably starts to pretend to do the deed with unattractive, unpopular or suspected gay male schoolmates, in exchange for gifts or money. Well, mostly gift cards. And predictably, things quickly spin out of her control.

This is a break out role for Ms. Stone, one of those A-Star-is-Born performances. Her loving, supportive, and too-cool parents played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, provide some of the film's funniest moments. Penn Badgley plays her romantic interest, Todd, the school mascot. Thomas Haden Church is her favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith. Amanda Bynes is her self-righteous torturer (reminiscent of Mandy Moore in Saved!.) It was a pleasant surprise also to see Lisa Kudrow in an unlikable role.

Like Clueless which was based on Jane Austen's Emma, the plot loosely follows Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. (Olive starts to proudly wear a letter A on her clothes, a redesigned wardrobe that her parents non-judgmentally tell her makes her look like a stripper.) It combines it with our obsession with voyeuristic technology, for living our lives on the internet and on the blogosphere, with common high school issues like bullying, hypocrisy, gossiping, and peer pressure. The dialogue is witty and sharp, much like Juno was. I give this film an A.

(photo from filmofilia)


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