In the wake of the critical acclaim for THE HELP, it is perhaps too easy for reviewers to see EASY A as the movie in which Emma Stone - the star of both - first made an impression, and perhaps to transfer their admiration of that film to this. To my mind, while Stone does have a kind of winning likeability and sass so often missing from today's bland young teen stars, EASY A is far from a compelling film. It doesn't have the dark humour and danger of a film like HEATHERS. It doesn't create a modern vernacular in the way that JUNO attempted to do. And it certainly doesn't treat its literary other, Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter, with the intelligence and respect that CLUELESS treated Pride and Prejudice. Rather, director Will Gluck (FIRED UP) and writer Bert V Royal, create a movie that attempts to be clever, contemporary, and dangerous, but ends up looking like a movie that occasionally lands a comedic punch, but as often mis-fires. I'm also pretty tired of seeing cheap shots taken at super-religious nutters.
Stone plays Olive, a girl who masquerades as a slut to gain credibility and cash, but is really a good-hearted virgin. Her parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) are completely unbelievable in their willingness to go along with this ruse. Events spiral out of control as they are wont to do in such films - largely when a nasty school counsellor (Lisa Kudrow) uses Olive to cover up an affair with a student. But all's well that end's well, in a movie that is far more conservative than it wants you to think it is. Essentially, this is a fluffy, patchy affair, worth a DVD rental at best.
EASY A played Toronto 2010 and was released last winter. It is available to rent and own.