by Cherszy (@cherszy)
Having a bad reputation is better than having no reputation at all. What on earth was Glee’s Rachel Barry thinking when she said that? It’s like choosing a really cheap and crappy comic book over a beautifully written and life-changing novel.
Just ask Olive Penderghast – ask her on how thrilling that part of her life was. And, well, she’ll probably link you to her webcast where she’ll narrate to you, chapter by chapter, that “glorious” tale of hers, which is better known as Easy A on the big silver screen.
The said teen flick definitely gets a big A for its serving of heartwarming comedy but fails to achieve a second A with its quite unrealistic and predictable plot and as it revolves around a teenage girl, Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone), who has been living under the title of an invisible individual until her white lie of losing her virginity to an imaginary college boy spread like wildfire into the whole school community. (Tip here: girls, never talk about your “secret” sex life in the bathroom when it’s lunch break because you never know who’s listening.) And as one dirty fake sex rumor isn’t enough, Olive agreed to pretend having sex with her bullied gay friend, Brandon (Dan Byrd), to make everyone else believe he’s straight, so the bullying would stop. One fictitious sex story after another, Olive went from a high school nobody to a famous high school slut, “helping” one boy at a time. Way to go, girl, for going from zero to hero! *insert sarcastic tone here*
Easy A is probably the redemption of teenage films after a series of poorly written and overrated teen romantic comedies stormed the theaters for the past few years. Instead of anchoring its story on clichéd fairytale-like and cheesy themes as well as petty catfights, the film centered on real teen issues, on coping with these, while infusing such scenes with witty lines that make you feel tickled and touched at the same time.
This film’s brilliance and ingenuousness owes much to its incredibly written script filled with lines that make the audience go LOL or at least produce a hearty laugh followed by an utter of ‘aww’ or a flicker of realization lighting up in their hearts. Also, through the characters’ lines, it showed that humor does not only spring from naughty punchlines or from dirty jokes (which many comedies today make use of to cover up for the lack of sensibility and essence in its plot) but also from simple everyday conversations between good friends and with hip parents.
And as the story digs deeper into the not-so-smart decision of a smart late bloomer, we find a bittersweet connection with Olive’s character – of how she suddenly becomes entangled and eventually trapped in a web of confused emotions, values, and issues of love, truth, misrepresentation, friendship, betrayal, generosity, greed, sacrifice, and identity and of how she is to escape the consequences of her actions. As Olive continues to talk about her struggle in a manner that will make you feel proud at first but then leads to feel sorry for her, we realize the difficulty of distinguishing the side of doing “good deeds” for others to feel good from the side of doing good deeds for you and for others to feel good. How did doing good deeds ever become a bad deed anyway?
However, as much as the plot is rich in substance as it leaves one to question, parts of it do not quite reflect what would have happened if it was in reality. There were many unrealistic portrayals of events that sped up the pace of the smooth flow of the story. That kind of ruined the building up of emotions as the climax is slowly reached that somehow it felt like that the writers were rushing the characters to solve the matter at hand, ignoring the complexity of the sensitive issues. It should be noted that certain things like rumors do not just die down easily even with convincing-sounding statements.
Also, the use of ‘Scarlet Letter’ as a literary analogy do not seem quite to be the most appropriate. There’s a big difference between adultery and losing virginity (or “prostitution” if you prefer the term more). Unless one thinks that the two terms are similar such that they both involve sex, the last time I checked into reality life, adultery and losing virginity do not equate at all. So, with Olive putting a big, red ‘A’ on her flirty wardrobe, she is not exactly making a statement about her indifference to the rumor. Or, well, she’s making a wrong statement. In my humble opinion, I think they should have just dropped the whole ‘Scarlet Letter’ idea because the plot is already rich in essence as it is. The point is already getting through.
There may be a couple of unnecessary and eyebrow-raising bits and pieces in the teen comedy, but its pool of talented stars has helped diverted our attention from those. Their incredible acting has managed to shift our gaze and to allow us to temporarily overlook the broken and unpolished parts of the story.
The world’s probably on the lookout now for the rise of the most entertaining person on Easy A, Emma Stone, who has consistently delivered a superb performance throughout the entirety of the movie. She made dullness a word too foreign to pronounce as she kept the audience laughing or feeling teary-eyed for her character. Her facial expressions are just impressive and the way she talks and acts is perfect for her role. She makes it seem like Olive Penderghast was written especially for her. Just incredible! And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one waiting for Stone’s next project.
Aside from Stone, the other notable cast member on this film is Amanda Bynes who plays the president of some sort of Christian club, Marianne. In Easy A, Bynes takes on a new challenge of playing the antagonist, and for a newcomer on the role, she’s amazing. She makes the annoying character of Marianne irritating and hilarious at the same time that even if you want to scream at her, you just can’t.
While the teen characters in Easy A are enough to cause a laugh trip worth remembering even until after the credits have rolled, Olive’s parents, Dill (Stanley Tucci) and Rosemary (Patricia Clarkson), just had to bring the bar of humor on this movie higher as they portray the parents we wish we live with – liberal, carefree, and just plain fun. They may be the most immature-like couple around, but they sure do know how to crack you up for a good laugh, especially when they feel like they’re still living in their messed up and goofy teenage lives. And Tucci and Clarkson make their respective characters extremely adorable and unforgettable even if they just had a short period of exposure on the screen.
Easy A may be another comedic movie this year, maybe not exactly winning the ‘Movie of the Year’ award, but it proves that it is not just any other comedic film as it tackles real teenage issues with witty lines uttered by lovable characters who are played by a very talented cast. Unlike other comedies or teen flicks, it does not play by the rules of cheesy lines, flirt sessions, and/or naughty jokes in order to spell success, but rather, it weaves the essence of substance upon the hearts of the audience to mark the film’s existence.
‘A’ is not for everyone, but adulterers and prostitute posers aside, Easy A gets that ‘A’ embroidered on it too, as in ‘A’ for awesome.