Day 83: Easy A (2010)


I sometimes wonder if I am watching the same films as the majority of critics (and the general public). Often, I find that I like the movies that everyone loathes, or I just can’t get into others that have most people foaming at the mouth with rave reviews. In the past, I had attributed this trendy, popular adulation to what I like to call the “Emperor’s New Clothes Phenomenon.” Similar to this classic tale, I am curious if positive word of mouth causes audiences to adore these choice films (“No, he’s not naked. Only people with the most discerning eye can see this exquisite material. You can see it, right?” “Er, yes, of course. And such a beautiful garment!”). On the other hand, it could be just that I have unique or poor taste in media. After seeing Easy A, I wonder which is true.

 

Easy A stars Emma Stone as Olive, a run of the mill high school student, who lives in an ordinary town. Olive is barely noticed in her school until someone overhears her tell a lie (that she slept with a college guy) to her friend. Of course, this spreads quickly through the halls and Olive is suddenly popular. When one of her peers discovers it is a lie, he asks her to pretend to have sex with him so that he can avoid the daily torment of high school bullies. Olive agrees and soon she is pimping her fake services to any boy in the school who needs a reputation boost. But how could this go wrong, you ask? Well, I guess you will have to sit through the film to find out. I had to.

 

Call me cranky, but I didn’t love Easy A half as much as the film loves itself. Yes, I realize it is a smart movie. Yes, I know it is drawing allusions to The Scarlet Letter. Yes, I understand it is making social commentary. Yes, yes, yes—I get it. But Easy A is almost too smart for its own good. I don’t believe anyone actually talks like they do in the film (and if the remote possibility that someone does “intelli-speak” constantly, I seriously doubt that everyone else in their life shares the same speech patterns). I felt like the main character was a know-it-all and way too wise beyond her years (I like to dub this the “Dakota Fanning syndrome”). I haven’t been in high school for a long time, but many of the characters were really hard for me to buy. Yeah, I think Easy A was just trying too hard.

 

I really, really wanted to like this film more than I did. I thought the story had potential. The cast was awesome (it included Lisa Kudrow, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, and Stanley Tucci). And if you don’t tell anyone, I will admit that I laughed out loud at several points in the movie. However, parts of Easy A annoyed me enough to sour me to the film overall. Trust me, I love smart movies; but I hate it when movies try to tell me they are smart. I want a film to have enough faith that its audience has at least half of a brain and can understand connections within it, instead of pointing out what it wants them to take away. OK, maybe I should step down from my soapbox now.

 

All venting aside, I am on the fence with this film. Fifty-percent of it seemed really well done, thoughtful, and special. However, the remaining 50% just rubbed me the wrong way. Oh well. You can’t win them all.

 

Score: C+

Netflix Queue: 484


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