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It’s an easy B+! – on tributes in “Easy A”

“Easy A” begins with a montage of classic scenes from 80s movies – a teenage boy at your window holding up a boombox, driving a lawnmower, and pumping one’s fist into the air.  The film itself makes no effort to conceal its motifs to the typical teen-girl movie – these motifs could even be interpreted as tributes: we have a pop soundtrack, quirky parents, high school drama, and lots of snarky dialogue.   We even have a heroine with bright red hair, a la Lindsay Lohan from “Mean Girls.”

The premise behind “Easy A” is simple – Olive is a high school girl who gets caught up in the rumor mill.  Rather than feel ashamed, Olive basks in the attention and flaunts her newfound notoriety, even going so far as to embroider a crimson A on her clothes (the class is reading “The Scarlet Letter”).  This is a cute setup, and Olive is a refreshingly intelligent and relatively tough protagonist who at the same time has a compassionate side.  She’s willing to lie about what she’s done, and even willing to accept payment…

What sets “Easy A” apart from the slew of lamer high school comedy-dramas, (“John Tucker Must Die,” I’m looking at you,) is the charismatic Olive, for whom we must thank an excellent, quick-to-retort Emma Stone.  Penn Badgley is believably nice and sweet as “Woodchuck” Todd, the boy Olive’s had a crush on since eighth grade.  The rest of the supporting cast is nothing spectacular, but Stone brings energy to all the interactions in the movie.

There were quite a few parts of the film that could have been better – Olive goes through several uncharacteristic weak scenes, and the antagonist, super-religious Marianne Bryant (a plastic, fluffy Amanda Bynes), felt too staple.  As expected in a high school drama, there’s a side story involving teachers, (“Mrs. Norris is a pusher!” comes to mind), but the one here felt a little forced, a little misplaced; it was too serious to go with the light-hearted tone of the rest of the movie.

Overall – 3.5/5; fun and refreshing!  After getting so caught up in Starcraft lately, I’ve been skipping out on movies, and this reminded me how fun they can be!

Best regards,

Apple

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