Rating: 3 of 5
I’m a little bit torn with Easy A, so this review might ramble a little bit. But I think there are two divisive factors that determine whether it’s a good movie or a bad movie.
1 – age
2 – this shouldn’t come into play in a objective review – but I think religious inclination does play a part in determining whether you think this is a good movie or not.
Because ultimately, it IS a good movie. It’s a teen comedy with the requisite bit of cliche and funny moments and cute guys and mortifying embarrassment.
It’s smart. Olive is a girl who takes on the persona of a slut, but is really intelligent and self-aware and not only likable but relatable. Emma Stone really carries the movie and she does it well.
Plus it’s funny. Olive’s parents are hilarious and irreverant but still honest. It’s a nice tie that Olive shares their taste for the sardonic and sarcastic. It makes them seem more like a family and also is pretty amusing.
And underneath all of that there is real emotion coursing through the scenes and an honest exploration of this dynamic of perception and promiscuity. Emma Stone remains genuine even in the sillier moments or those that are written more as a carictature.
Which is where my #2 division comes into play. Because it’s a teen comedy so most of the characters come across as a bit of a caricature. The thing that really works is that almost all the characters are also given a moment of humanity. You see in them, if even for a glimpse, these real people and real characters that resonate which give the film it’s heart.
Except for the Christians. There’s this whole sub-plot of the Christians driving the gossip through the school and being the force of judgement on Olive. which is fine. Everyone else has a taste of the stereotypical but everyone else is also let out of that restraint and allowed to also be a real person. When the Christians aren’t, it implies that there is no authenticity beneath the stereotype.
So, if you’re ok with that you’ll probably still think this is a good movie. If not, and if you’re not ok with using gd as a curse you might not like it as much.
Which is a good place to loop back around to division #1. Easy A is not crass. It is not graphic. It talks a lot about sex and in a forthright sort of easy way. I wouldn’t like it if it were crude, but it’s not. It’s just honest.
If you’re 14 you’re probably culturally mature enough that it isn’t uncomfortable or new or shocking. But I’m not 14 and I don’t know that I think it’s appropriate for teenagers – even though it’s a story about teenagers and therefore probably made for teenagers. which is an interesting conflict. I’d think it’s appropriate for college kids – but not high school.
So, while division #1 doesn’t really determine whether you think it’s a good movie or not, it does say something about whether you should be watching it or not.
I had fun watching it though. Because it is funny and honest and has some good things to say about the emotional ramifications of perception and promiscuity and the things we do and don’t want from each other. And it has a great John Hughes theme running through it and obvious allusions in the soundtrack.
p.s. you don’t need to say “Jake from Sixteen Candles” you can just say Jake Ryan. every girl knows who Jake Ryan is. especially when you show a clip of him standing outside the church in front of his car.
ETA: I’m rethinking the whole age thing. Because I’m remembering those John Hughes movies and how old I was when I saw them. I think it’s kind of one of those – I hope my kids don’t do half the things I did – things.