It’s a brave
move for a teen rom-com to reference founding father John Hughes; braver still to actually segment clips from those films
within the plot. Thankfully Will Gluck’s follow up to last year’s average Fired Up! is comparable to them in many ways.
Taking the mantle from Alicia Silverstone in Clueless and Lindsay Lohan in Mean
Stone stars as Olive, hemmed in by American High School’s social structure
which sees her rendered generally anonymous. That is until gay classmate Brandon
asks her for a favour; get the bullies off his back by pretending to have sex
with him. Building on a rumour already based on Olive’s glib lie about losing
her “V-Card” to a friend, quickly she gains a reputation as the
school slut, something that comes with a larger downside than she thought
As promised in both Superbad and Zombieland, Stone
is more than capable of carrying the film on her own; having the sass required to deal with
religiously zealous Marianne (a terrific Amanda Bynes) while flirting with
potential suitors and playing the good girl with favourite teacher Thomas Haden
Church and bizarrely good-natured parents Stanley Tucci and Patrica Clarkson.
As Gluck’s film moves from comedy to romance
with the schools’ handsome mascot, Bert
Royal’s script packs enough laughs to keep things bright, breezy and brassy. Cleverly mirroring Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter things take a turn for the worse when
Olive begins brandishing herself with her own red “A” tag in order to
fully perform the fake masquerade.
While it might be said that the film’s adults
merely accessorize the action , moving the plot forward, they also get some of
the best lines. Tucci
effortlessly delivers quick quips while Lisa Kudrow shows a darker side as the guidance
counsellor with a secret. However it’s Olive’s story that anchors the film,
delivered with conviction and flair thanks to Stone. While some might be
touting her as the next Julia Roberts – niece Emma might have something to say
about that – Easy A could easily be seen as a Stone’s Pretty
Woman, although without actual sex.
Cleverly segmenting clips from former classic
rom-coms and deploying that “If
my life was a movie then…” Gluck isn’t scared to draw comparisons with
Bueller or The Breakfast Club,
even giving his lead her own musical number in which to break into song “for
no apparent reason” as Olive remarks.
Well-structured around what appears to be at
first a video diary, Easy A doesn’t outstay its welcome, instead
treating us to plenty of laughs along love’s rocky road. That’s something
that’s been sadly lacking on screen for a while; here it’s made to look easy.