Monday, 14 March 2011

Easy A

Every so often, a clever, witty teen film comes along that manages to rise above the drivel and make a star of it's leading lady. In the 80s there were the John Hughes movies like Breakfast Club that put Molly Ringwald on the map, in 1988 Winona Ryder made it big in the black comedy Heathers, and in 1995 Alicia Silverstone went from starring in Aerosmith videos to being Clueless. In the late 90s the teen films were dominated by the Jennifer Love Hewitts and Sarah Michelle Gellars. They were either teenage slasher films or sex comedies like American Pie, and then in the 00s...well perhaps I grew up, and those teen films no longer interested me. Sure, there was Mean Girls, but I classify a good teen flick as having a female protaganist you like, and well, even though this was before her tanorexic, skinny, bleached, lip plumped, general downward spiral phase, Lindsay Lohan still irritated the hell out of me.

Fast forward to 2010, and Emma Stone, who had supporting roles in Superbad and Zombieland, finally gets a meaty role playing Olive in Easy A. Essentially this film has a tried and tested formula; loosely base it on a classic novel, modernise and run with it. Clueless was based on Jane Austen's Emma, 10 Things I Hate About You was Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare, and Cruel Intentions was an update of Choderlos de Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons. Easy A takes The Scarlett Letter as it's inspiration, or rather as Olive's inspiration as her status in school suddenly sky rockets. Essentially, she pretends to sleep with people to make their social status in school improve, to the eventual cost of her own.

I liked the film. It will never surpass Heathers or Clueless in my favourites lists, but then they have the edge of being watched repeatedly in my childhood (to the point where I practically know the scripts by heart). Olive makes a likeable heroine; she's smart, fiesty and funny - producing the kind of wit (especially during interactions with her parents) that is reminiscent of Juno. Of course her likability factor is considerably boosted by the fact that her friends and frenemies are utterly annoying, stereotypical high school brats (I couldn't look at Amanda Bynes' chipmunked, lip-glossed face without imagining it floating off like a helium balloon).
Three and a half stars out of five

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