Review: Easy A

I took my thirtysomething husband and male friend to see Easy A this weekend. Big mistake in that I wasn't thinking that the theatre would be swarming with giddy, screamy, tween girls.

I. Felt. Ancient. Also? I'd forgotten girls are LOUD. Seriously.

Anyway, cranky old lady griping aside, we all enjoyed the film. The premise is that Olive (played by the insanely charming Emma Stone, who was equally excellent in Zombieland) tells her pushy BFF Rhinannon (played by Hellcat Aly Michalka) that she ditched out on her pal to go out with an anonymous (made-up) college man. Rhiannon assumes that Olive had sex, wants details, and a nosy uber-Christian (Amanda Bynes) overhears this conversation, and spreads the story all over school. As rumors do, they blew up into ridiculous proportion. Olive's English class is reading The Scarlett Letter, so Olive decides to go all out and play up this ruined reputation. She wears corsets with red A's stitched on to them. She lets a gay friend have loud fake sex with her at a school house party so people stop beating him up for being gay. This kind of snowballs out of control and all kinds of losery guys want Olive to help them out too. Wacky hijinks ensue.

Now a word about the supporting cast. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson play Olive's parents, and it surprised me how well they both do screwball comedy. They were clearly having fun with the flick and they were fun to watch. Lisa Kudrow plays Olive's guidance counselor who is married to Olive's Hawthorne-teaching English teacher, played by Thomas Hayden Church. Did you ever think that Lowell from Wings would be the guy to have the breakout Oscar award type of career? Penn Badgley (who I'm told is on Gossip Girl) plays the Jake Ryan of the flick (but, you know, with less selling of his passed out girlfriend for date rape).

And speaking of Jake Ryan, the reason I bring this flick up on Culture Brats is the fact that at one point in the film, Olive mourns the fact that her life isn't like an '80s movie. She wonders where the John Hughes moments in her life are. (Incidentally, the film has a nice tribute to Hughes films at the end.) As the film rolled the credits, I leaned over and said to my friend "You know, that might be the closest thing the current teeny bopper generation gets to having their own Hughes film." He looked at me in horror. But you know, I honestly can't think of any films being made in the Hughes vein. Easy A deals with a lot of the same themes as a Hughes film, namely the viciousness of high school, and I can't think of any films in the past few years that dealt with these issues with humor and grace.

Another thing that struck me after the film was over was the fact that Hughes films often dealt with being the outsider kid that WAS still a virgin, while Easy A deals with the fact that NOT being a virgin is scandalous. Only sluts "give up the v card" in high school. I thought it was an interesting shift, though I'm not sure it's quite true to life. Regardless, the girls in the theater laughed loud and hard and walked out buzzing about the flick.

So Brats readers, can YOU think of any films made in the past ten years that might be Hughsian for a generation of teens? There have been some teen comedies, but I can't think of one that really resonates like, say, The Breakfast Club. One that teens can watch and think "that's ME they're talking about." Juno? Napolean Dynamite? I don't really think so.


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