MOVIE REVIEW: Easy A

Maybe Easy A is trying too hard to be the next John Hughes movie.


The date movie with the wife for the month, Columbus Day, was Easy A, based on some positive reviews. High school student Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone, from the movies Zombieland and Superbad) finds herself invisible in high school. She ends up lying to her best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka from some Disney shows and the current Hellcats) about going away for a weekend sex romp with a fictional college freshman, when in fact she barely left her bedroom. After the lie gets out, she finds that people ARE noticing her, for the wrong reasons. She then embraces her inner Hester Prynne from the book “The Scarlet Letter,” which she is currently reading in school.

I don’t see a lot of “teen comedies”, but I did enjoy this one, albeit with some reservations. I totally believed that one can get lost in high school, even someone as bright and attractive as Olive. Definitely bought the notion she could have a vapid BFF like Rhi, who she’s known since grade school. I can relate to the intoxication of sudden attention. When she agrees to help out a bullied gay friend, Brandon (Dan Byrd from Cougar Town) by pretending to sleep with him, her image rapidly goes downhill; that part is certainly believable, though played a bit loosely.

I also enjoyed Stanley Tucci and especially Patricia Clarkson, as Olive’s liberal and trusting parents, Dill and Rosemary, who occasionally offer TMI, though it sometimes felt those scenes were from another, better movie. And I really enjoyed Thomas Haden Church as her concerned English teacher, Mr. Griffith.

I was less impressed with the caricatures that the religious fanatics, i.e. born-again Christians, led by Marianne (Amanda Bynes, from What I Like About You) are portrayed. It’s not that I don’t think Christianity can’t be knocked, as this article seems to suggest. It’s just that they are painted with such a broad, and lazy brush. Also, a simulated sex scene is more slapstick than the rest of the movie, giving it an uneven tone.

Maybe Easy A is trying too hard to be the next John Hughes movie. Hughes gets namechecked more than once.

Let me say again: I liked the film. It didn’t drag, I didn’t want to check my watch, and I liked spending time getting to understand Olive’s motivation as her life gets spun around. And if the ending is a tad predictable. and maybe a little rushed, that was OK too.

Recommended for rental.