Easy A FTW

Dishonor of rep has ’em rolling in the aisles

It’s fitting that the review of a movie about whoring through words should start with a verbal money shot, in the form of a pull quote: Easy A is easily the funniest movie of the year. Sporting chlamydia as a subplot, discussion of vagina gnomes and multiple Huckleberry Finn–based biracial gay sex jokes, first-time screenwriter Bert Royal truly earned the marketing descriptor “not your typical teen comedy.” Bucking the trend of visual-based, lowbrow guffaw moments, Easy A is all about the wordplay, employing dialogue sharp enough to shave with and a cast comfortable using their tongues as razors. Death by a thousand cuts never felt so good. Like Hollywood’s oppressive standard for actresses, Easy A’s plot is thin but sexy. Olive (Emma Stone) is a clever, cute nobody who only gets noticed when the high-school equivalent of Christine O’Donnell, Jesus-enthusiast Marianne (Amanda Bynes), overhears Olive lie about losing her virginity. When Olive’s gay friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) learns she allowed rumors of her fake sex life to persist, he begs her to engage in faux boot-knocking with him, in a genuinely moving, teary-eyed soliloquy about the life of a gay public school student. Of course, when other social pariahs learn of Olive’s willingness to spread-eagle her reputation, they begin begging her to lie about fictional trysts with them. Faced with judgment from everyone but her adoring parents (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci) and favorite teacher (Thomas Haden Church), Olive embraces her role as a high-school Hester Prynne by emblazoning a red “A” on her increasingly skanktastic clothes. But Olive quickly learns that chaste behavior and a whorish reputation still make for a miserable existence. Beyond the brilliance Royal brought to the page, director Will Gluck’s confident willingness to let his uber-talented cast freely riff breathes life to even the most mundane bridge scene. Tucci and Clarkson, professional scene stealers the both of them, gleefully plunder, while Stone proves herself to once more be blessed as much with perfect comic time as with anime-eyes and a gravel-road voice. Her supernova fame is simply inevitable. Raunchy but packed with social skewering of holier-than-thous and reminders that girls should guard their reputations as stringently as their loins, Easy A is as laugh-laden as it is smart. It is further proof that female-centric comedies need not pander or lower themselves into rigid adherence to formula; they just need to be, you know, good. GRADE: A-

posted at 08:25 pm
on Friday, September 24th, 2010

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