Emma Stone has saved cinematic feminism – at least when it comes to teen films targeted at an easily-influenced audience recovering from years lacking adolescent “classics”. However, while 2007’s Superbad garnered her moderate attention, it was her official “coming out” at the Toronto International Film Festival that finally made critics and audiences finally sit up and take notice.
A modern take on all things John Hughes, Easy A brings back the charm and charisma necessary to make a film timeless. True, fashion choices and pop culture references may forever brand it as “standard 2010”, but both its lessons and heroine maintain a magic reminiscent of earlier eras – a time when iconic scenes consisting of stereos held overhead and spontaneous musical numbers were celebrated, not branded as too passé.
Director Will Gluck’s John Hughes appreciation is no secret. With main character Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) opening her narration with a reference to the iconic director, from the moment the credits begin, one quickly becomes aware that unlike High School Musical or Hannah Montana, Easy A is a film of both thought fodder and wit.
After Olive is overheard telling a friend about her fictional tryst with a college student, the school quickly becomes taken with the “morally loose” academic superstar, branding her every teenage synonym for harlot imaginable – a title that only increases after her fake public hook-up with a closeted friend (Dan Byrd) becomes the pinnacle of her classmates’ high school careers.
To make matters worse, a student team of religious crusaders (lead by a fanatical character played by Amanda Bynes) seeks to “save” Olive from eternal damnation – but only by publicly (verbally) flogging her to the tune of The Scarlet Letter. Throw in a cute boy, a refreshingly functional family and a relatively shocking subplot, and unlike the other mainstream box office draws aimed at young girls, Easy A solidifies itself as unique mix of 80s teen flicks and a toned-down version of 2004’s Saved!
Thank goodness for Stone. While the writing is sharp and Olive’s parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) are the prime example of perfect parenting, you can’t help but think a weaker actress would fail to do the script justice or lack the substance needed to play an underdog that refuses to be a victim of circumstance. But just like her turn in Superbad or Zombieland, Stone boasts a likeable edge that serves only to inspire and delight, making her a character you can completely cheer for and hope to relate to.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Amanda Bynes. While she once boasted a career defined by diversity and excellent comedic timing, her evolution has led only to branding her as someone impossible to warm up to or believe. Her character could’ve been a far cry from the stereotypical high school villainess, but something fell flat, leaving Bynes to especially pale in comparison to her vivacious co-star and her talent for multi-dimension.
And the timing couldn’t be better. With the “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign currently taking hold of Canada and the US, Easy A can officially be considered an unbridled cinematic success. A film for both sexes, the “be true to yourself” message isn’t lost on anyone, and whether you’re 14 or 46, you can be proud that the mainstream message is finally not one urging women to change for popularity or acceptance.
Posted 987 days ago by
In: New Movies
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