September 16, 2010

Easy A

How about a Scarlet Q for quitter to go with
that peanut butter delight, Bynes?

Grade: D –

Director: Will Gluck

Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, and Dan Byrd

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Easy A can slap on all the literary allusions it wants, but this stab at channeling Nathaniel Hawthorne by way of John Hughes is more deserving of a Scarlet F.

Emma Stone (Superbad) plays Olive, a high school ingénue whose reputation goes from prude to Prynne once she starts accepting gift cards and other remuneration from various freaks and geeks in exchange for allowing them to spread word about getting to second base and beyond with her.

This already specious premise – presented under the guise of a webcasted recap complete with incessant voiceover narration – collapses under the weight of tedious subplots, including married school staffers (Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow) and Olive’s irksome hipster parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, slumming). While Olive appears to dance around the May pole, she is hounded by an offensive cartoonish campus Christian student group, presided over by Amanda Bynes (perhaps providing some insight into why she recently tweeted her intent to quit acting).

Meanwhile, Olive at first defiantly embraces the consequences of her mythomania – even embroidering red A’s on her increasingly skimpy outfits – until the story suddenly requires Oliver to play martyr by taking responsibility for other people’s sins (Christ…).

The auburn-haired Stone has worlds of potential, but this lurching, surprisingly lifeless teen com is a speed bump along her career path. Easy A isn’t nearly as smart as it thinks it is. To borrow from the name of a much better literary-based movie update, it’s just clueless.

Neil Morris

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