By Don Simpson | September 16, 2010
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church, Amanda Bynes, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Alyson Michalka
If you are a fan of corsets, have I found a film for you! And if corsets alone are not enticing enough, how about Emma Stone in corsets? Ah, now I have your attention!
Olive (Emma Stone) is a high school virgin who concocts a lie about losing her virginity to a make-believe community college boy. Said lie is told in order to avoid a weekend with her curvaceous best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka); unfortunately the tantalizing tall tale is overheard by Marianne (Amanda Bynes) — the leader of the local chapter of Jesus freaks — and spreads like an epidemic gone wild via texts and tweets around campus.
For this one (made up) indiscretion, Olive is labeled a slut. Rather than attempting to debunk her promiscuous reputation, Olive spins it into a profit-making venture. In exchange for saying that she hooked up with random high school misfits and losers (in order to improve their social standing), Olive accepts payments in the form of retail gift cards. This coincides with Olive’s reading of The Scarlet Letter in her English class; she finds a comrade in Hester Prynne, and sews an “A” into her wardrobe (which by this point consists only of corsets).
At times, Easy A tries really hard to be this season’s Clueless with its flippant banter, gratuitous snark, and tiresome self-awareness; other times it flat out apes the iconic John Hughes high school movies of the ‘80s (and not very successfully). As a modern update of The Scarlet Letter, Easy A is no better than Roland Joffé’s The Scarlet Letter (1995) starring Demi Moore (which Easy A mocks on multiple occasions).
Easy A is sure to piss off people on both sides of the political aisle, but I think it will piss off God-fearing Christians the most. Producer-director Will Gluck (Fired Up!) takes quite a few cheap shots at the fundamentalist Christian crowd, representing them as clownish caricatures whose judgmental intolerance is pathetic and unwarranted. (Jesus freaks annoy me too, but what good does this cartoonish portrayal do anyone?) As for the more liberal members of the audience, well, where do I begin? First and foremost, this is a despicable representation — corsets and all — of women. (Olive is purportedly intelligent, but other than some multi-syllable words and witty wordplay she never really shows her smarts.) Oh yeah, and men too! And, really, I am downright confused about what Easy A is trying to say about teenage promiscuity and underage sex.
Then again Emma Stone sure looks good in corsets, so how bad can Easy A be?