Back-To-School Month: "Easy A" Review

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Back-To-School Month: "Easy A" Review

Rating: PG-13 (mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language, and some drug material)
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: Sept. 17, 2010
Directed by: Will Gluck
Genre: Comedy, Romance

"Easy A" takes a unique twist on the subject of sex in high school. While some people will always have the charm, for others it can be a struggle to gain acceptance from their peers. This film offers the latter a way out of an awkward situation by a girl claiming that she slept with a whole swag of unpopular and nerdy guys. In "Easy A," that girl is Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone).

"Easy A" gives an original take on a subject that it so commonplace among youth today. However, the film does incorporate some elements of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter." The writer of this film, Bert V. Royal, thought it would be fun to add some classic American literature and try and incorporate it into a modern film. Most of the script was written by Royal within a week. However, before it was selected for production, Emma Stone was passed a copy of the script and immediately took a liking to the lead character Olive and asked her manager to keep her updated on any developments. Only a few short months later, the script would be given the green light to be made into a film, and Stone jumped at the chance. She immediately set up a meeting with the director, Will Gluck, to express how much she wanted the role. A couple of months after that, the audition process began, and Stone was cast after impressing Gluck and several other members of the crew. For Stone, it was a big step forward in her budding career, as she had never previously been cast as lead for a feature film.

The plot begins with something that is to become commonplace: Olive lying in order to get her way. Her close friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) is told a story about how Olive lost her virginity to a college guy while the former was away camping. However, a Christian group leader named Marianne (Amanda Bynes) overhears the story, and the alleged incident quickly becomes hot property throughout the school.

Olive suddenly has the reputation of being a bad girl, but she uses it to her advantage. After finding out that one of her friends is gay, she offers to pretend to sleep with him so that he can lose his tag of being homosexual. This further damages Olive's standing among her classmates, but she revels in it. In homage to Hester fromThe Scarlet Letter, Olive attaches a red A to every piece of clothing she has.

After initially achieving her goal of improving the standing of unpopular guys, Olive takes it further by accepting money in exchange for telling everyone that she slept with them. One date goes horribly wrong when the guy actually wants to sleep with her for money. Olive realizes that things have gone too far, so she reaches out to her ex-boyfriend Todd (played by Penn Badgley). Todd says that he doesn't believe all her apparent exploits, because she has lied to him before in order to save him from embarrassment.

Olive has a change of heart and decides to let everyone know the truth; however, the problem is that all of the guys she has been with don't want the truth to come out. In a desperate attempt to restore her reputation, Olive performs a dance at a school pep rally, where she reveals the truth about everything. In the last scene, Todd comes by to pick her up and kisses her for the first time.

"Easy A" premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival before being released to American movie theaters only weeks later. Although the film did not make number one at the box office, it ended up making more than nine times its $8 million production budget. Film critics largely deemed the film to be a success, with many praising Stone for her mature performance. Up until that point in time, Stone was considered to be an up-and-coming actress, but her role in this film really put her in the spotlight. The following summer, she was nominated for Best Actress for a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the 68th Golden Globe Awards. Although she did not win a globe, she still picked up awards at the MTV Movie Awards and the Teen Choice Awards.

Those looking for a film that has the right blend of laughs and a good message will find "Easy A" right up their alley. The breakout performance by Emma Stone alone is worth the price of admission, and moviegoers will be sure to get their money's worth thanks to the solid support cast.

Rated 3.5 of 5 Stars