Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Easy A"

Hello again, all.

Yes, I realize I forgot to make a musing last week. Blame it on the fact that things are starting to get hectic here. So I thought that today I'd give you guys a treat; I'll review a second movie this weekend. I think I'll do this if I miss a musing on some weeks, so that's one reason I saw this movie.

The other... well... I'll let the review about today's movie tell you more...

Easy A

Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) is in a bit of a dilemma. To avoid going on a camping trip with someone who's family is wierd, she made up a story about dating a college student and losing her virginity. And it gets especially out of hand after she starts hanging out with people who she doesn't have sex with but says she does. As a result, things get complicated: she gets hounded around by the head of the religion club in the school (Amanda Bynes), she's blamed for various other things, and she becomes one of the most talked-about girls in the school. And so, given that she's studying The Scarlet Letter in school, she embroiders a red A onto her wardrobe and goes about the school as shenanigans unfold all around her.

Okay, so we have a teen comedy. The genre has a lot of potential for being highly forgettable if it's not done well. Here, this movie is done with extremely smart humor. The pop culture references are all very funny, they're thankfully kept to a minimum, and much of it relies on increadibly fast-paced banter. It also understands that a subject like this does have some serious undertones, and it's not afraid to broach some fairly serious topics towards the end even despite the rapid-fire banter. But the banter is brilliant, and it leads to a very funny movie with a script that definitely doesn't pander to the LCD and produces genuine laughs as a result. As well, the characters all have their own endearing little quirks that are played up for laughs.

Of course, it could all go to hell with the wrong people. Much of the movie requires incredible timing, and some of it couldn't have been done with anybody else in their respective parts. And all the characters are quirky, but a large portion of them could have been incredibly unlikeable right from the get-go.

And this brings me to the biggest reason why I wanted to see this movie: Emma Stone. I was a little skeptical upon first hearing that there was an update of The Scarlet Letter set in high school. But when I found out Emma Stone was playing the Hester Prynn-type character? I was set. She was incredibly eclectric in Zombieland, and I was curious to see how she would handle holding an entire movie on her shoulders. I had a lot of faith in her, though, so all that was left was to see if it paid off.

I'm glad to say that my faith in her paid in spades. A lot of the movie hinges on Emma Stone being able to endear her character to the audience. And on this count, Emma Stone's performance succeeds with flying colors. Yes, her character may not be making the best decisions in the world as the whole movie gets more and more convoluted, but we're still rooting for her. As well, she proves herself capable of keeping up with the ridiculous comic timing that's required of all the actors, and her deadpan delivery of a lot of the lines really helps the humor quite a bit.

This is not to say that she overshadows everyone else; Amanda Bynes is somehow extremely endearing as the hyper-Christian woman who leads a lynch mob against her (and if you know me, religious nutjobs like her character are typically people that I want to kick in the face if I so much as hear the words "Christian" and "fundamentalism" in the same sentence, so to find one such character quirkily endearing is a major credit on the part of the film-makers), Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci make incredible parents for Olive who sometimes steal the scene whenever they're onscreen, and everyone else is incredibly endearing in their own subtle ways.

So what to say about this movie? Easy A succeeds in big part thanks to the actors, and in even bigger part because Emma Stone has more than enough charm and wit to carry the entire movie on her shoulders. Clich├ęd? Maybe. But that scarcely matters when it manages to be hilarious on its own merits. If you're wary of the high school genre of films, you should still give this movie a try.

3.5/4

Most definitely worth checking out.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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