Easy A

posted Sep 29, 2010, 11:56 AM by Jeff Brandt   [ updated Sep 29, 2010, 2:20 PM ]
Easy A, starring Emma Stone as the spunky young Olive, translates the basic concept of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter for today's youth: society's scorn of adultery and fornication.

Olive is an attractive, whip-smart high school student who is somehow invisible to the rest of her peers since she sees through and avoids participating in social cliques.

Then one day she comes up with a lie to tell her friend, simply as an excuse to get out of a weekend camping trip she'd like to avoid. Her weekend plans, she announces, are to meet a college guy for a date.

In truth, her weekend was spent singing to her dog. But at the beginning of the next week, when her friend wants the juicy details of the date, Olive finds herself delving into a gigantic lie about how well the (fictional) date went and how the guy took her "V card."

Of course, since this tall tale was told in the girls' restroom, her friend was not the only party to the conversation. And, as in any movie high school, the rumors about her wild college adventures are spread quickly and elaborated upon at every turn. Suddenly she becomes both hated and desired by her classmates, a classic showcase of the virgin/whore dichotomy. She even begins sewing a red letter A on all her tops as a direct allusion to Hester Prynne from the The Scarlet Letter, which her English class is reading.

I really enjoyed Emma Stone's witty sense of humor and her family's open attitudes about sex. The writer, Bert Royal, really gave them some snappy and refreshing lines. And it's nice to see a film in the high school genre about a topic that really matters, as opposed to a bunch of silly gags written, shot, pasted together, and called a movie. Yet I couldn't get over the fact that the whole scenario is ridiculously unrealistic.

Really, a girl in this modern age who is purported to have sex once is automatically a slut, viewed differently by all of her peers? It's not like this movie is set in some bastion of social conservatism; it's in California. High schoolers having sex isn't even taboo in Grease, a film made in 1978 and set in the late 50s. Granted, it is fiction, and it's allowed to take some liberties with reality. But the whole scenario was simply too unreal to ring with much truth.

I enjoyed Easy A, but it suffers from some major plot issues that prevent it from transcending into greatness. I would recommend waiting a few months and watching it as a rental.


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