'Easy A' Is A+ Fun

as featured in the suffolk voice


If John Hughes and Aesop collaborated on a film project "Easy A" would most certainly be the result. Combining the late filmmaker’s signature coming-of-age comedy with the fable writer’s moral messages, director Will Gluck builds a familiar world where the past meets the present.  

The film's nostalgic narrative comes from many sources, but none is more prevalent than the influence of Hughes’ "Sixteen Candles." For those unfamiliar with the 1984 classic, Molly Ringwald stars as a neglected birthday girl who wants nothing more than the attention of high school hunk Jake Ryan. Instead, she’s pursued by a geek seeking sex that will help him score a pile of floppy disks.

Outdated technology aside, "Easy A" loosely follows that plot with Emma Stone effectively stepping in for Ringwald as Olive Penderghast, a level-headed teen who puts her reputation six feet under with one little lie.    

Rather than admit to her friends that she spent an entire birthday weekend holed up at home alone, Olive makes up an imaginary tryst. Rumors of her supposed deflowering spread, thanks to a Bible abiding classmate, and Olive is quickly labeled the new school harlot.

Like "Candles," Olive soon finds herself at the mercy of the nerds who want to boost their social status; she hesitantly agrees to help, accepting gift cards in exchange for fabricated flings.

Things take a turn when Olive’s charade begins to threaten the lives of others. The only person she can’t seem to offend is Todd (Penn Badgley), the handsome hunk she’s had feelings for since grammar school. 

While the film reads like a textbook teen comedy from top to bottom – sex, lies, and house parties – there is enough originality to save it from being labeled the next "American Pie." Much of this can be credited to Bert V. Royal, who clearly studied "Clueless" and "Mean Girls" when crafting the film’s referential screenplay. 

Also an accomplishment, Gluck’s ability to capture authentic performances from his nearly all teen cast; Stone, in partiulcar. 

Despite a ridiculous musical number towards its end, "Easy A" holds up extremely well. Is it as memorable as "Clueless"? Ugh, as if! But it certainly makes the grade.