And goes up in the Hallmark of Fame of Kate’s favorite (teen) movies, including Clueless, Mean Girls, and John Tucker Must Die.
Before the movie started, tension was at an all time high (I probably squeezed Lauren’s arm ten times while waiting). Apparently, more people were interested in seeing The Town than the next big teen sensation, because the theater was packed, and a man in a very tight muscle-T had to explain to us why. HOWEVER. He ended up seeing our movie, so kindred spirits, we were.
NOTE: I really wish I had one of those flashlight pens like Penny, Rob’s ex-girlfriend in High Fidelity. For those who don’t remember, Penny was the virgin who wouldn’t sleep with Rob in high school. As a grown-up, Penny is a movie reviewer and uses one of those flashlight pens to take notes in the theater, which Rob thinks is dorky, but well, he’s a loser a lot of the time.
Easy A tells the story of Olive, who gets caught up in a web of her own lies when she tells to her rather bitchy best friend Rihannon that she lost her virginity to, Lauren notes, the college friend of an older brother who is never again mentioned. Rihannon continually berates Olive over her lack of sexual conduct, letting Olive know that her sexual experiences aren’t about her, but about everyone else. From then on, being the small school that it is, suddenly everyone wants a piece of Olive, and she decides she’d better take advantage of it rather than play the victim.
If it were that simple, there wouldn’t be a movie. Easy A is dramatic, and over-the-top, but in the way that pushes the point forward rather than annoying you most of the time. It pulls liberally from our past teen movies, whether from its use of music from Grease at the climax of the film, or lines referencing “a gossip girl in a sweet valley of traveling pants.” The story is mildly convuluted, which only really works because, well, so is gossip.
Pre-reviews seemed to suggest that it was an impossibility that a beautiful girl like Emma Stone could ever play a wallflower of sorts. But scenes like when Olive goes on a date at a Lobster Shack, and goes on and on about the reproductive capacities of various animals while the boy across from her looks on in shock, rang true. Even that the prettiest girls in high school can get ignored if they’re quirky, weird, smart, or all of the above. Olive may be the heroine, but even she makes mistakes all over the place. She convinces herself she’s people because it’s easier than standing up for herself, and she shows just as many weaknesses as strengths. After a moment with her fave guy (Penn Badgley), he tells her that he’s not worried about what it means, because “I haven’t overanalyzed it yet like you’re about to.”
At the beginning of the film, Olive says that Hester Pryne, the heroine of The Scarlet Letter (on which the story is loosely based), “lived in an entirely different time.” But if Easy A tries to tell us anything, it’s that she lived in a time pretty much the same as ours, just without texting. Religious persecution still exists, and judgement of sexual mores is still widespread. In a confrontational twist with one of her teachers, played by Lisa Kudrow, Olive says, “I’m not judging you, I’m just saying, oh my shit damn.” It’s way too accurate a phrase; she’s trying hard not to judge, but obviously, she does. At the of the day, Easy A reminds us what we do in the business of our home is no one’s business but our own, despite how much we want it to be.