Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cinema Review: Easy A

Tina Fey's smartly written, bitchy high school comedy Mean Girls was the last true teen comedy that deserved any particular position in the Greatest Teen Comedies year book, standing alongside fellow laugh-a-second, female-driven flicks such as Clueless and even dating back to the 80's when Mr. Hughes himself ruled the genre with Sixteen Candles. It's an undoubtable fact that finding such a gem is a task that offers itself up every few years. Six years down the line and we thankfully have Will Gluck's Easy A.

Socially unknown student Olive Penderghast (Zombieland's Emma Stone) sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in "The Scarlet Letter", the book her class is currently reading - which thrusts her into the limelight of the school rumour mill that advances her social and financial standing in life.

Almost instantly, character dynamics are formed -- Olive's primarily, highlighting her as the clean-cut student that she is -- and the story is in full swing. As Olive spouts an unintentional white lie detailing how she lost her big 'V' to her best friend Rhiannon, she's quickly thrown into the life of the adulterous, fictional heroine Prynne and swiftly transforms from a content, almost self-reliant starlet to a falsely renowned harlot by bible bashing queen Marianne (Amanda Bynes). With Marianne and her disciples destined to rid the school of such a preposterous hussy, Olive accepts propositions from the down-on-their-luck students with payment in the form of uninspiring coupons.

Emma Stone -- unarguably equally as adored as Clueless' Silverstone and appearing, somewhat, as a modernized Molly Ringwald -- delivers the perpetually intellectual script admirably, with a performance that engages throughout with a never-ending sense of confidence and enthusiasm regarding the self-assured character. Utterly charming, she portrays the message of self-respect with great assurance, consistently uncovering the potentially positive aspects of a situation that never allows for any particular breathing space. A courageous effort, if you will, that never would have truly functioned without the help of Royal's energetic, consistently quirky script that, combined with the talents of Stone herself, creates an extremely likable, strong female lead. Comically in-tune with his writing, Stone is first and foremost one of today's most natural comic talents, with a regularly underlying warmth to her character that most will relate to.

Royal's witty and inevitably heartfelt script depicts unconventional characters (Olive's parents, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are written fantastically, taking quirkiness to a whole new level) with a refreshing story that most definitely carries an uncanny resemblance to those belonging on the late John Hughes' list of successful projects. With the many references to the likes of Judd Nelson thrusting his fist to the sky and Ringwald's misfortunate day on her sixteenth birthday, a clear influence from the earlier teen comedies has traveled, albeit not smoothly, to a film that successfully carries the ingredients that made them so successful.

Easy A may stray down the road full of predictably outlandish situations and teetering towards the slightly over-nostalgic of the 80's, but they're all factors that never fully perforate your enjoyment. This is a film where the underdogs rule, the inconsiderate queenbees drool and John Hughes reigns as King. A world where, if i was still attempting to survive high school, i would love to reside in.


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