Easy A (2010)
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Bert V. Royal
Emma Stone, Cam Gigandet, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Penn Badgley, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Alyson Michalka, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Juliette Goglia, Chyna, Jake Sandvig, Stacey Travis, Braeden Lemasters, Bonnie Burroughs, Danni Katz, D'Anthony Palms, Jeremiah Hu, Mitchell Falk, Norma Michaels, Johanna E. Braddy, Ryan J. Parker, Morgan Rusler, Jameson Moss, Nicki Tyler Flynn, Jessica Jann, Bryce Clyde Jenkins, Jillian Johnston, Neil Soni, Morgan Rusler, Daniel Bird, Mahaley Hessam, Max Crumm
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Favorite Movie Quote: "Hey, it's okay, I was gay for a while. We all are."
A lot of movies aspire to be like this movie or that movie; practically all fail, usually having no spirit of their own and worse still when they shamelessly try to deny the mimicry. One such success was The Girl Next Door, a teen version of Risky Business. Easy A copies the basic premise of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, but the tone and feel is an 80's teen movie like Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Say Anything, humorous with something serious lurking in the background, and Easy A unapologetically admits it right in the voiceover narration. It also achieves it.
High School invisible Olive (awesome Emma Stone) has a weekend of exciting nothing planned rather than camping with her best friend's weird parents and said best friend Rhiannon (Allyson Michalka). Rather than risk an awkward moment, she lies and says she's got a date with some JuCo dude, and Monday a slip of tongue makes it sound like an overnight affair. Rhi insists Olive is lying that nothing happened, so Olive capitulates and embellishes on her night of faux passion with her imaginary fella. Problem? Little Miss Goody Too Tight Ass, Marianne (Amanda Bynes), is in the bathroom, hears all, tells all. If you've ever played the game telephone or seen a real rumor spin, you can see where this is going.
This is further complicated by Olive herself when she realizes that she likes the sudden attention even if it is bad - after all, she's not really a slut - and she even further utilizes her rep by helping the misfits and downtrodden by letting them say they scored with her. First out of charity, later essentially for money, basically becoming a reputation prostitute. As these boys reputations go up, hers continues to plummet, until the line starts to blur and nearly everyone - including Olive - starts to believe Vonnegut's missive from Mother Night, "In the end what you pretend to be is what you are."
Even with a slew of seamlessly fitting and funny all-star cameos (Thomas Haden Church was a delight as always), this movie is all about Emma Stone. But for a few odd deviations, Stone's in every frame, narrates the flick, and has to maintain a likability through a rocky road in which it would be easy to blame her for everything that's happening or fail to forgive her for some genuinely mean things she does. Stone carries it, believeable and delicious in every phase of Olive, and off the heels of Superbad, Zombieland, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and only 21 years old, she's a rocket just achieving lift-off.
There's a lot of subtle commentary about the hipocrasy that surrounds sex. Women have been trying to turn the tables on sexual empowerment for years, but in mainstream social circles it remains as it always has. Also that High School kids would make that big a deal out of it is believable to me. They'd all be lying to protect their own reputations, of course, either for what they have done or wish they could do.
Funny, cute, entertaining. One of the better movies I've seen this year.
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