Easy A

Easy A is a film about adolescence, good deeds gone wrong, the value of a good reputation, judgment, and acceptance.

Olive is a good girl from a happy home who stays out of the spotlight at her California high school. That is, until her gay friend Brandon takes her suggestion to pretend he’s straight literally and begs her to play his fake girlfriend. The two stage a hook-up at a party and – voila – Brandon’s troubles are over. Suddenly Olive is sought after by all the boys who can’t get a break to boost their image and elevate their man-status.

At first, Olive’s reluctance to pretend dark deeds is overcome by her sympathy for the poor downtrodden guys that seek her out, but soon she discovers she enjoys the attention she’s getting from her growing reputation as a ‘floosy,’ and plays it up to the max. The problem with faking loose character is that Olive begins to lose sight of what’s real and what’s fake, and learns that a reputation can be just as easily damaged by lies and rumors as by actions.

The movie boasts a stellar cast, starring Emma Stone , Amanda Bynes (She’s the Man, What A Girl Wants, Hairspray), Penn Badgley (John Tucker Must Die), Dan Byrd (Cougar Town, Hills Have Eyes), and is directed by Will Gluck (producer of The Loop, 2006-2007, writer/director of Friends With Benefits, 2011).

Despite the formula teen-comedy plot, Easy A brings more to the table than what’s expected of it. The cast is strong on the talent side and delivers surprisingly complex and emotional performances, over and above the comedic horseplay (which was pretty hilarious). Most will recognize Emma Stone from Superbad (Jules, the object of desire) and Amanda Bynes (She’s the Man, Hairspray) is great at playing the villainous blonde beauty. Penn Badgley, who plays the all-around wholesome good guy, had a similar role in John Tucker Must Die. Dan Byrd is a slightly less familiar face but will probably be recognized from The Hills Have Eyes and Cougar Town. Despite his positively cookie-cutter role as the persecuted gay teen, he brings a refreshing level of depth and charm.

Easy A is a fun watch and actually imparts some pretty good messages about character, truth, and what makes a good person good.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing Emma Stone in Writer/Director Will Gluck’s upcoming Friends with Benefits in 2011.

Noel Carlson

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