Clean-cut Olive (Emma Stone, Superbad) gets a reputation make-over in this teen comedy, after a white lie about losing her virginity catches on around school. Now playing nationwide. Click here for session info.
Everyone will tell you that the best thing about easy-going teen comedy Easy A is Emma Stone and that’s entirely true. As Olive, she carves a niche that’s intelligent and self-aware but not Juno-insufferable. While schoolyard gossip and social hierarchies change on a whim, Olive remains smarter than everyone else, though not necessarily more confident.
Surprisingly earnest and good-natured, Easy A takes place in a high-school world where everyone is equal parts empowered and sidelined by the burgeoning world of sexual discovery. Chivalry and decency are repeatedly valued and this nostalgic longing hearkens back to plenty of ‘80s teen comedies in the same vein, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Say Anything... Olive even name-checks John Hughes directly. More than 20 years later, however, and we’re still talking about those; it’s unlikely to imagine this one lasting so long.
Despite Olive’s mocking of teen clichés, there are plenty of them here – from the school president / chastity league / Christian funda-‘mentalist’, played by Amanda Bynes, to the basketball games and mascot, to the Strickland-eque headmaster who vows to keep "the girls off the poles and the boys off the pipes." While teens will buy into it, adults will have seen it all before. At the screening I was at, a youngish chap slouching next to me asked his friend: "remind me why we’re watching this". "For the girls," was the reply. For Emma Stone, to be precise.