High school comedies are a dime a dozen, but only once every couple of years are audiences treated to a smart, edgy creation that defies convention and the genre as a whole. In the vein of Saved! and Mean Girls, 2010's Easy A is a funny and witty production that showcases rising star Emma Stone.
Stone stars as Olive, a clean-cut and intelligent teenager who decides to tell her best friend one little white lie about losing her virginity. The lie is overheard by high school Christian leader Marianne (Amanda Bynes), who quickly spreads word to the rest of the school. Suddenly branded as a slut, Olive decides to embrace her new reputation by offering the nerds of the school fake sex in exchange for gift certificates. As Marianne aims to destroy Olive, Olive realizes she is destroying herself - but is it too late to make things right?
Easy A is from director Will Gluck, who helmed the surprisingly entertaining (though critically panned) Fired Up! Regardless of what you thought of that movie, Easy A is a pedigree teen comedy that hits the right notes nearly every time. Written by first time screenwriter Burt V. Royal, Easy A is laugh-out-loud hilarious and manages to avoid the clichés found in most teen films. It isn't quite as good as Mean Girls and Saved!, but it's in the same territory. If you liked those movies, you'll like Easy A, and if you didn't, what's wrong with you?
Stone is perfect as the lead, but supporting players, including Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow, deliver fine if understated performances. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci are funny as Olive's unconventional parents.
Easy A's only flaws are minor. The movie becomes a little too serious toward the end of the second act, and for no good reason. Amanda Bynes wasn't nearly as good as Mandy Moore was as essentially the same character in Saved! (and the movie fails to give Bynes the proper send-off)
Easy A is one of the must-see comedies of the year and is another great entry in Emma Stone's short career. I've said similar things about her other big movies, including Superbad and Zombieland. She's one to watch in the coming years, and Easy A is one to watch now.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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