When pumped by her best friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) to spill the beans about the weekend, Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) tells a little white lie about her non existent sex-life, hoping for acceptance and popularity. The details of Olive's alleged promiscuity are overheard by evangelical Marianne (Amanda Bynes), President of the Cross Your Hearts Club, which means that very soon everyone in the school is talking about it. As she basks in her newfound popularity, Olive decides not to deny the rumours. Her English teacher Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church) expresses concern as does his school guidance counsellor wife (Lisa Kudrow), but Olive devises a creative way to use her new reputation to help other status-challenged students, including Brandon (Dan Byrd), whose homosexuality makes him a target.
Review by Louise Keller:
Sex, lies and a webcast are some of the ingredients in this zippy teen comedy that's as fresh as a tropical cocktail garnished by an outrageous swizzle stick. With its original and juicy upside down premise, delectable plot and star turn by Emma Stone as Olive, the schoolgirl who goes from insignificance to notoriety on the wings of indiscretion, Easy A scores big time. Bert V. Royal's debut screenplay is loaded with ingredients ready to propagate and director Will Gluck drives the action delivering great fun. There are two sides to every story and here, we learn the ups and downs of being an outcast. The film flies at lightning speed with an offbeat, syncopated rhythm offering chuckles, hoots and laughs as perceptions bend like leaves in the wind.
At Ojai High School in sunny California, girls look more like glamour queens than school girls, with make-up, hair extensions and push-up bras. (My, how things have changed!) Through the lens of her webcam, we meet Stone's Olive, who claims to have sound mind over breast size. One teensy lie about losing her virginity (V-card) to an imaginary boyfriend in order to placate best friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), results in more trouble than Rhiannon's blonde corkscrew curls. Overnight, Olive acquires bimbo status and suddenly there she is - on the map, like on Google Earth. Echoing themes from promiscuity-themed novel The Scarlet Letter being studied in English Literature, inflated lies become compounded as Olive's reputation down-spirals heroically to hilarious proportions as every minority group male (gay, fat, unpopular) takes advantage of her obliging nature promoting further imaginary trysts.
The casting is terrific and Amanda Bynes is great fun as the stuck-up Jesus Freak cum President of the Cross Your Heart Club. There's a jauntiness about all the relationships as Olive sacrifices her reputation for all the school's social outcasts as they each step up for their own 15 minutes of fame. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are highly entertaining as Olive's non-conformist, liberal parents ('Did you win a medal?' her mother innocently asks when her daughter is sent to the Headmaster's office) and Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow are wonderful as the caring English teacher and his highly strung counsellor wife. I also like Penn Badgley as Woodchuck Todd, with whom Olive has a history, who unexpectedly appears in outlandish garb - from blue body paint to a lobster hat.
All the twists curl deliciously on the edges and there are plenty of sweet surprises, including Stone's ability to belt out a tune, dressed in black and red bustier and fishnets. But it's her down-to-earth likeable personality that grabs us from the outset, as Olive's chaotic journey canvasses friendship, morality, truth and romance. Easy A is easy to like.
Email this article
EASY A (M)
CAST: Emma Stone, Cam Gigandet, Amanda Byrnes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Penn Badgley, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm CDowell, Alyson Michalka, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church
PRODUCER: Will Gluck
DIRECTOR: Will Gluck
SCRIPT: Bert V. Royal
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Grady
EDITOR: Yana Gorskaya, Susan Littenberg
MUSIC: Brad Segal
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcia Hinds
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 16, 2010