October 10, 2010

Easy A - 2010

Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Stanley Tucci

"The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated." A sort of reverse take on The Scarlet Letter, Easy A follows the exploits of Olive (Stone) as she has a series of fictitious sexual escapades for the social benefit of both the gentlemen involved and herself. However, the rumor mill inevitably spirals out of control, and Olive ends up with quite a bit more than she hoped for.

This movie was a lot better than I was expecting it to be, and had a lot of good things going for it. The script is surprisingly well written considering most entries in the genre, and Stone plays a powerful, eloquent, intelligent, and admirable female lead, far too few of which exist in film. Stone along with Tucci and Clarkson make for one of the most believable and enjoyable to watch family dynamics in recent years. Church hasn't had a role this good since Sideways, and even Kudrow is far more tolerable than her usual Phoebe-from-Friends roles. The high point of the film (which comes after a slam against an Alamo Drafthouse-type theater) is a monologue bemoaning the lack of John Hughes moments in the average modern teenager's life, something instantly identifiable for the current generation, especially one familiar with the works of the late Mr. Hughes (as everyone should be). Unfortunately, the film's far from perfect. Malcolm McDowell, having made a career on playing evil men, was horribly miscast as a high school principal in the film; it's painful to see main droog Alex from A Clockwork Orange doling out detentions. There's also an incredible sharp, sudden shift in tone from comedy to drama about halfway through the film. As I've said, the worst thing a movie can do is suffer from tonal identity crisis. While it's better than a great deal of the tripe that's come out this year, it won't make my top ten. B

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