Easy A earns a passing grade
You’ve seen the trailer on the Texts From Last Night website. You know it’s got Emma Stone in a corset. You know it’s got Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl. And because it’s a movie about high school, of course Amanda Bynes is in it.
Much like the 1980s, movies about high school will never die, but some reincarnations are better than others. Easy A stars Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast, a nice yet invisible girl in a typical public high school. When her best friend berates her into lying about losing her virginity, and the school’s resident Christian zealot overhears, Olive goes from being a nobody to the school’s biggest source of gossip.
Cue some plot holes: a friend Olive hasn’t really spoken to in a while admits he’s gay, then asks Olive to have pretend-sex with him at a popular girl’s party so the school bullies will stop beating him up, and Olive agrees. Not entirely believable, but for the sake of being entertained by the fake sex scene and the repercussions of it, go along with it. One guy hears the truth, then another, and soon enough, Olive is engaging in fake sexual behavior with boys hoping to get labeled as men.
For all of you who did not read The Scarlet Letter in high school because you thought it wouldn’t be relevant, your teachers are laughing. But maybe you read Sparknotes. Either way, the movie plays with the novel’s story line brilliantly. Olive decides to give her classmates the wanton harlot they expect and busts out the lingerie, complete with a red “A” for adulteress.
While some of the punch lines seem a bit out-dated (do we still care about Tom Cruise?), there are more than enough other lines and scenes to keep you laughing and not regret spending eleven bucks that could have gone towards 7-11’s classiest-looking case of Busch or Franzia.
What sets Easy A apart from recent movies about teenagers are the fine lines it walks between witty and natural, cheesy and heartfelt. Do we believe Olive, given her quick wit and her best friend, was as invisible as she said she was? Not really. Do our hearts break a little when she tells one of the boys who paid for a fake sexual exploit with her that she might have actually kissed him had he been more of a gentleman? Yes.
Easy A takes a lighthearted but genuine look at the social pressures and double standards in high school. As with most movies centered on the lives of high schoolers, Easy A is about trying to fit in, failing to fit in and finally accepting that there is no “fitting in” — only in being true to yourself will you be happy. That and if your boyfriend is Penn Badgley. And if your life resembles a John Hughes movie. It’s a movie about being in high school—what did you expect?
But seriously, go see Easy A and revel in the fact that your high school years are behind you.