Tuesday, September 21, 2010
THE BEST COMEDY OF 2010: EASY A REVIEW
EASY A (A)
I was surprised to come out of this past weekend having enjoyed Easy A more than my pick of the week, The Town. After checking out this light-hearted comedy, it's easy to say this movie was definitely the better of the two (but I do recommend you see both). While The Town was a solid flick that I only had minor issues with, I would be hard pressed to find something I disliked about Easy A.
The movie is a simple story driven by one character. The endearing Emma Stone plays Olive, a girl going through her high school career relatively unnoticed. She makes the mistake of telling her best friend she lost her virginity to a college boy. Given the lighting speed that gossip travels around the school yard, word soon gets around that Olive is experienced sexually.
One of her bullied friends begs her to help change his daily routine of being picked on at school by pretending to "hook up" in a bedroom at a party. That faux rendezvous leads to more nerdy individuals coming out of the wood work in need of a similar favor to change their image. With gift cards as payment, the fabricated trend of her promiscuity continues on and on until it reaches a point that Olive is ostracized as the school floozy.
Easy A takes its name from Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter where the main character Hester wears the red "A" signifying her adultery. To spite her unmerited notoriety, Olive voluntarily, unlike Hester who was branded, decides to wear the crimson letter. She sews the "A" on all of her newly purchased risque clothing to play the part everyone is casting on her.
The script for Easy A was written by the unproven Bert V. Royal and should prove to be a break through for the thirty three year-old screenwriter. For a first time effort, I commend him for the solid story, characters, and dialogue he worked into the pages of the script. The comedy was crafted with a more intelligent audience in mind. Some jokes were understandable for the masses, but much of the laughs were aimed at an audience with pop culture awareness and a shallow understanding of famous literature like Huckleberry Finn and The Scarlet Letter. The main character Olive was well constructed on many levels. The narrative shows her interacting comfortably with her close-knit family, playing a driven intelligent student in school, and then acting as an outcast tramp when she feels the backlash from her peers.
Olive's narration is done creatively through her broadcasting the emotional story of her alleged lewdness to the internet. This element helps unveil her inner thoughts as well as providing insight into the details of the story as she is telling it. The scenes showing the rumors spreading around school were done with creatively crisp editing and direction. The camera flies with fervor around the school with such a quick pace, it brilliantly symbolizes the speed of the rumors spreading.
The soundtrack was magnificent and supplemented the mood of the pictures unfolding on the screen. I was blown away by each new song matching perfectly with every scene it was set to enhance. The upbeat music was catchy and energetic causing me to tap my feet with the music while enjoying the lively scenes. The slower somber music fit the script perfectly mirroring Olive's down moods.
Lastly, I want to throw my praise out to Stanley Tucci. If you think you do not know who Stanley Tucci is, I assure you, you do. He is one of those familiar faces that shows up in so many quality movies, but you have a hard time placing your finger on his name. Tucci plays Olive's father in Easy A. I have rarely seen a character so quirky yet intelligent. His actions as a father could be considered non-conventional, but the love for his family always appears to be at his character's heart. Every time he showed up in a scene, I was excited with anticipation for what he would say or do next.
Overall, Easy A turned out to be the best comedy of 2010. The simplicity of the story itself made this movie one you could kick back and enjoy. Not only was the story simple, but it was cleverly constructed from a comedic standpoint appealing to a broader audience as well as the sharper crowd well endowed in literature and pop culture. So, it was simple, funny, had a strong supporting cast, what else? Oh yeah, how about the gorgeous Emma Stone carrying the load like a true Hollywood starlet.
If you are looking for some laughs with a little sophistication, don't miss Easy A. As you can see I graded this film an A, and Easy A earns it.
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