Friday, August 12, 2011

Easy A

Every now and then I will pen a post about a movie that isn’t a new release.  It may be a film I’ve just watched for the first time, or it may be a film I personally consider a classic for whatever reason.  This week, I’m going to write about a funny little film I really liked when I watched it the other day called Easy A.

This 2010 release from director Will Gluck is a loving tribute to the John Hughes comedies of the 1980s.  In fact, Gluck doesn’t even try to subtly hide it.  He pays homage to those classics by plucking scenes directly from them and placing them in his film.  And it works.  These instances are brief and incorporated in the storyline and it doesn’t seem like a cheap gimmick.

The movie has a relate-able plot for anyone who attended any high school.  It is about the danger of lies, even innocuous ones.  It is about the ease in which rumors can start, grow, and evolve into unrecognizable truths.  While this has always been the case in the fertile grounds of life in high school, it is exacerbated in this age of technology.  Texting, facebook posting, instant messaging, and whatever other instant means of communications would certainly make it hard to maintain secrets and contain rumor.

The cast is anchored by the talented and refreshing Emma Stone.  Stone has terrific comic timing and delivery.  She has a wry wit about her that I just find funny.  I think Stone is one of the up and coming young actresses in the business and I really don’t think she is a one trick pony.  Her character, Olive, is immensely likeable and she is endearingly self deprecating.  She is a normal high school student, happier to fly under the radar than to live in the spotlight of false popularity.  A little white lie to a friend is overheard and instantly spread through the school by the simple means of a cell phone.  This lie and the ensuing rumor lead the good hearted Olive down a path paved with well intentioned, but horribly bad, decisions.

Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are hilarious as Olive’s immensely quirky, and too lenient, parents.  The scenes with Olive and her parents are the film’s best and funniest.  Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, and Malcolm McDowell each have bit roles and are largely wasted in this youth fueled teenage flick.  Cougar Town’s Dan Bryd has a funny turn and Aly Michalka has some really humorous moments.  Amanda Bynes shines as a super religious fanatic and serves as the film’s villain.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and found myself laughing out loud at times and chuckling to myself throughout.  I loved the nod to my 80s favorites and I am becoming a big Emma Stone fan.  This is not a movie for children not yet in high school as language and subject matter are both of a very sexual nature.  If you are a fan of the 80s teen comedies, you will enjoy this one.  I think it is Hollywood’s best effort to capture the mood of those classics since the 1998 flick Can’t Hardly Wait.  Easy A is a funny, touching, relate-able movie and deserves a weekend rental if you haven’t seen it. 

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