Eighties Movie Ending ~ Movie Review of ‘Easy A’

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on February 1, 2011 0 Comments

‘Easy A’ was released on DVD on December 21st, which was just in time for a last minute holiday shoppers (and you all know who you are) to plant under the tree…now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner.  I found ‘Easy A’ to be the definition of the perfect family film of the modern age.  It is the story of a virginal girl with a heart of gold; the kind of girl who is willing to appear as the school tramp in order for some sad male souls in need of social points to appear as school studs.  If they give her a little something-something (more like gift cards for Home Depot) for her troubles well that is fine – she is like a courtesan of lore in pretend.  Of course, you know the ending of this tale even before it is begun, but it is the journey to the conclusion that makes movies like this memorable for future generational reference.


                Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast refers to teen films from the 80s in conjuncture to her story, while using liberal references to ‘The Scarlet Letter’ to emphasize her reputation as the school skank.  It only takes a little innuendo here and there to solidify her status.  After Olive’s mother (Patricia Clarkson) when noting her daughter looks like a stripper her father (Stanley Tucci) lovingly adds, “A high end stripper…one for governor’s or athletes.” 


         What really made the movie fun was that Olive’s family is the kind of nuclear family that has replaced the Cleavers of yesteryear.  They trust their daughter even if she is starting to dress in a way that is slightly alarming, because she talks to them, is intelligent, AND they as parents don’t pretend that they have forgotten what it was like to be her age.  It isn’t as if they are hosting beer kegs at their home for under aged teens so that they can be briefly thought of as cool, they know their daughter well enough to realize that whatever side tour she is taking she is going to come out the other end as a young woman of which they can be proud.  Further, their likeability quota goes up when you add that they participate in family movie night as well as being delightfully devoted to each other.  They also joke with their youngest son (who is black while they are white) when he proclaims he is adopted, “Who told you?” 


            I loved this family so much that I wouldn’t mind if the studio made a sequel centered on them.  Even my fourteen year old Prairie Village based niece when asked about this film said, “Didn’t you just love the family?”   


          The screenplay by Bert V. Royal is sharp – even though allegedly he wrote the script within five days.  There are numerous lines in this film that are quotable, which is probably the reason why the cast in the film is so impressive; Amanda Bynes as a fellow student goody two shoes who would like to save Olive because sex before marriage is morally bad, Thomas Haden Church as Olive’s favorite teacher, Lisa Kudrow as the school guidance counselor and the wife of Church’s character, Alyson Michalka (from ‘Hellcats’) as Olive’s on and off again best friend, Fred Armisen as a local church pastor, and the before mentioned Clarkson and Tucci.  One minor complaint I have with the film is that most of the teen characters were played by actors who were way passed their high school days – not only literally, but also they had been cast in several roles where they have played university students in films that are years old (Bynes and Stone primarily).


        A more realistic flaw for me was the idea of knowing a fellow high school student might be sexually active appearing so shock worthy to the students of the fictional Ojai North High.  It felt a bit out of touch with a generation who is being currently treated to the likes of MTV programming including ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘Teen Mom’.  However, I appreciated the message the film concludes with in that a person’s sexual activities, or lack thereof, is no one’s business but their own.       


        I would recommend ‘Easy A’ as long as there is an understanding about its content.  If you don’t want to delve into the sexual politics of teens then stay clear.  It is rumored that an unrated DVD version might have the harsh language in the original script which according to Royal had 47 ‘F’ word references (Will Cluck who directed the movie shot many of the scenes two ways with the different ratings of PG-13 and R in mind) thus depending on your audience make sure you have the right version you want to see.



Westerfield © 2010

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