Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Is For Awesome

21-year-old Emma Stone is charming as hell in EASY A, which is its prime asset and also partially a problem.

Stone is playing Olive, an Ojai, California high school student who is supposed to be unpopular and unattractive. Of course, Olive is wonderful and sexy and funny and stretches the film’s premise into science fiction territory. But because Emma Stone, whom you may recall from SUPERBAD, is a terrifically appealing young actress in a real star-making performance, she gives you all the reason you need to watch the amusing EASY A.

Bert V. Royal’s plot targets Olive as the object of scurrilous rumors after she tells her best friend Rhiannon (BANDSLAM’s Aly Michalka, showing off Ojai High’s student body’s lone boob job) a fib about losing her virginity to a community college student named George. The story gets around, and soon the school’s male outcasts, including a fat, hairy guy and a gay student named Brandon (COUGAR TOWN’s Dan Byrd), are soliciting Olive to say she slept with them so they can improve their street cred. Amanda Bynes plays fundamentalist classmate Marianne—Olive’s chief rival—and GOSSIP GIRL’s Penn Badgley is the nice guy who doesn’t believe the rancid stories about Olive.

Royal’s dialogue is smart and catchy and the kind of words Diablo Cody wishes she could write. The cast clearly loves the script, which brings out the best and the glibbest in former MURDER ONE castmates Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s parents, Thomas Haden Church (SIDEWAYS) as her concerned English teacher, Lisa Kudrow (FRIENDS) as her adulterous guidance counselor, and Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) as the principal. TV veteran Will Gluck (ANDY RICHTER CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE) keeps the gags and words coming at a rat-a-tat pace. It seems weird that high school students would look down as piously on sexually active peers as EASY A’s do, but Gluck stays true to his cockeyed universe that pays homage to the popular teen movies of the 1980s without slavishly copying them.

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