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Mini-review: Easy A

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Having seen nothing about this movie other than the poster, which didn't interest me, I wasn't planning on seeing it. But M and I were looking for a movie to see at the local theatre, and most of the other movies showing there sounded anywhere from dumb to awful (Legend of the Guardians, Alpha and Omega, Resident Evil, etc), so we looked at the Rotten Tomatoes reviews, where Easy A got something like an 85% positive rating.

Most of the reviews said:

  1. Emma Stone is great in this, and
  2. Either of two things:
    1. It's as good as a John Hughes movie.
    2. It's not as good as a John Hughes movie.

So we decided to give it a try.

And it was lovely.

Very smart, very funny. There was one brief sequence that we had character-plausibility issues with, and I was a little dubious about a couple of minor political aspects (especially around race stuff). And I could've done without the live kids in the theatre who appeared to be trying to Rocky Horror/MST3K the movie. (The whole audience was weirdly interactive—a lot of talking, a lot of general noise, one scene where I think the audience applauded—but those kids were even more so. Also interesting: different groups in the audience laughed at different things; for example, I suspect that people my age enjoyed some different aspects of it than the teens did.) But overall, it was excellent and fun.

And very aware of its being part of the pantheon of teen comedies. There are some explicit references to John Hughes movies that were especially entertaining.

(Huh: various sources indicate that this movie is a retelling of The Scarlet Letter, which led me to momentarily think it could be another for the Classics recast into high school settings list. But the Wikipedia plot summary of the book (I haven't read the book itself) makes pretty clear that the movie is not a retelling or even a reworking; the plot is very different. But the movie does repeatedly explicitly refer to the book.)

Some notes about the cast:

Emma Stone was, as the reviewers noted, great as Olive, the lead.

But what the reviews I glanced at didn't mention is that Patricia Clarkson as Olive's mother and Stanley Tucci as Olive's father are awesome. If Stone weren't herself so great, Clarkson and Tucci would steal every scene they're in.

There are surprises in the rest of the cast, too: Malcolm McDowell as the principal, Lisa Kudrow as the guidance counselor, Thomas Haden Church (I was completely wrong about what else he'd been in, Mary Anne; sorry about that) as the English teacher. Really, the whole cast is pretty good.

I didn't recognize Amanda Bynes (who was awesome in She's the Man) at all; here she plays the religious girl, who's more or less a one-note character, but Bynes does a fine job.

Anyway. Good movie; well worth seeing.

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