Easy A - DVD Review

'charming and confident... with a clever reverence to its genre which never comes of as smug'

Will Gluck's much-praised teen comedy, Easy A is like the too-smart-for-their-own-good kid in school who has a clever answer for any criticism you might level at it. Don't like teen comedies? That's fine, this one has a strong moral compass at its centre and asks real questions about relationships in high school. Can't really stand watching these hot young things flounce around? No problem, the supporting cast includes Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow and Malcolm McDowell. Annoyed by films that feature a voiceover as narration? Well, Easy A has got a clever modern-day answer for that one as well.

Unlike the too-smart-for-their-own-good kid though, Gluck's film does all this with clever reverence to its genre which never comes of as smug and a smile that never disappears behind all the serious stuff. Much of this is down to Emma Stone who takes the lead as Olive. Charming and confident, Stone delivers lines with authority and passion. Occasionally, screenwriter Bert Royal hands her a segment you just shouldn't believe should come out of a teenager's mouth but, committed to a fault, Stone works hard to make sure Olive comes off as 'real' and for much of the time she's eminently successful.

That said, there is a tension in the plot between how much of the story you believe is convenient happenstance and how much of it you believe is down to Olive being too nice for her own good. The character seems too smart to be caught in the schemes and situations she finds herself in and the believability of the story is tested during the more significant plot turns where Olive conveniently fails to see the problems that will lie ahead.

Believability is also the key word when considering the adult presences in the film. 'The Adult' in teen dramas is a key presence. Think back to Mean Girls (which Easy A obviously looks to) and how important the parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn), the teacher (Tina Fey) and the headteacher (Tim Meadows) were. Easy A follows a similar trend where each adult is a watered down version of the last slightly unbelievable persona. Parents Tucci and Clarkson are quasi-hippies with a wicked sense of humour and a barely believable liberal attitude to their kids. Teacher Hayden Church is a repressed hippie with a slightly less liberal/more believable attitude to his job and students. McDowell as the headteacher is the straight shooter. They're well worn archetypes but ones that - believability aside - work nonetheless and Tucci and Clarkson in particular steal some of the film's best laughs.

The plot nearly falls over itself on several occasions but ignore the almost-holes and questions about Olive's naivety and this becomes a warm and funny comedy with a cine-literate heart and a semi-serious musing on both the on and off-screen versions of romance.

Look further...

'took what I expected to be a formulaic high school film and laced it with a dry, witty and at times acerbic sense of humour' - Slacker Cinema, 4/5


  1. That looks like a cute movie - Great review; yours may be the opine that turns me towards finally checking this one out.

    - TGWD

  2. It's a good film, with Emma Stone taking this material, and hitting a home-run. Good Review!

  3. Best surprise of last year. Freakin' hilarious movie and Emma Stone rocks it like a total boss. Solid review, man. Big fan of this movie.

  4. Dope - It's worth checking out. At worst it's a fun piece of fluff with some great one-liners, particularly from Tucci. If you're a John Hughes fan at all then there's a lot to get out of it.

    Dan - She's great in it. Very confident. I was surprised. In a good way.

    Aiden - Yeah, really glad it didn't let me down. Coming to it after the cinema release I'd been told many times how good it was so pleased I enjoyed it as much as most people.