'Easy' earns an 'A' as impressive high school comedy

By Tallyn Owens
Entertainment Editor

The recipe for a good teen comedy is a difficult to execute correctly, and this ideal combination is as rare as a tiger and a baby in your hotel room at the same time.
“Easy A” is the “Mean Girls” interpretation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, “The Scarlet Letter.”
Although “Easy A” has no affiliation with the people behind Tina Fey’s 2004 masterpiece, they share several common traits: a hilarious internal monologue, an equally great lead actress (Lindsay Lohan, I know. But “Mean Girls” is the greatest thing she has or will ever do), and of course, a high school setting.

Easy A Poster
Photo Courtesy of IMDB.

Emma Stone of “Superbad” fame stars as Olive Penderghast, an average high school student in Southern California who begins a downward, gossip-filled spiral based solely upon a lie she told her best friend at school.
After the rumor spreads like wildfire, Olive decides to help a gay friend, Brandon, by elaborately pretending to sleep with him at a party so he’ll stop being harassed about his sexuality by his classmates.
From there, more lonesome and otherwise sexually awkward boys approach her with gift cards to Best Buy, The Gap and even a foreign movie theater as payment for being able to say they hooked up with Olive.
“Easy A” plays to its strengths in a strong script and lead actress better than many other movies of the same genre, which often succumb to bad actors and underdeveloped plots.
One lies in the modern format. Olive is narrates the story through a series of webcam videos she posts online at the culmination of the film. It was a pleasant new take on the tried and sometimes tired internal monologue. The webcam format allowed the voice-over to be better integrated into the rest of the movie, which is rare for films with this kind of narration.
The monologue carries the movie in ways that it wouldn’t be able to without. Olive’s sarcastic, charming quips also allow you to admire her more and more as the movie progresses.
Stone provides a strong lead performance and makes Olive appear so confident, that even when you know she’s upset and confused, you still believe she’s got some elaborate solution up her sleeve. Towards the end of the movie, in desperation and to draw attention to her webcast, she concocts an elaborate, “Glee”-style musical number during a pep assembly. This sense of smarts and security in a teenage, female lead is hard to find.
Behind Olive stands a large cast of supporting characters, the most memorable of them being Olive’s judgmental Christian classmate Mariane, played by Amanda Bynes, and my personal favorite, her supportive and sarcastic father played by Stanley Tucci.
During one scene, Olive’s adopted, African-American younger brother asks why he was adopted, and Tucci proceeds to slam his fist into a cabinet in fake anger and shouts “Who told you?!”
One of the movie’s other strengths is that it knows where it stands on the teen movie spectrum. Olive knows “Easy A” isn’t a John Hughes movie, although she really wishes it were. So much so, that during Olive’s video blog, she states “I want my life to be like an ’80s movie, preferably one with a musical number for no apparent reason .”
Which she gets, mind you.
Unlike some of Hughes’ classics, “Easy A” suffers from a bit of an unanswered plot line, which leaves Olive’s moral journey through hell and back as little more than an unfulfilled prophecy.
“Easy A” isn’t easy to relate to for high school students, but it isn’t hard either. Most girls (and guys for that matter) can see themselves in a similar cesspool of rumors that comes with nearly every individual high school experience.
Girls, you will enjoy this and the guys might like it as well, if for no other reason than watching Emma Stone walk around in lingerie tops for the second half of the movie. As a side note, she cleverly affixes a red cloth “A” to each of the above-mentioned brassieres in homage to Hester Pryne, the heroine of Hawthorne’s classic novel.
Thanks to Emma Stone’s convincing lead and the film’s humble nature, it’s one of the funniest and most enjoyable teen chick flicks to come out since “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.”
“Easy A” combines a modern setting with a good script to create a generational comedy piece that could very well end up with the same amount of feel-good nostalgia as many of John Hughes’ treasured films.