Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Easy A

Easy A
Originally uploaded by Andrew Ng Images
Olive Penderghast is your average Jane in high school, sweeping by under the radar – that is until she agrees to help her gay friend have an imaginary tryst so the jocks and rest of the school will stop picking on him for being gay. This one act transforms Olive into the school’s super-skank as the rumor mill goes active. What happens from there is a comedy of errors as Olive agrees to help fellow student after fellow student, letting them have imaginary flings with her as long as they provide the gift card of her choice. When her status becomes negative Olive takes a stand inspired by Hester Prinn and dons a scarlet A, making a statement about the way people choose to see her.

Easy A sets out to crib John Hughes in a very obvious way. Not only does Olive mention Hughes and the most popular teen films of the 80’s, but Will Gluck seems to be intent on cribbing Hughes in every way possible…and it works. While Easy A may not be a blow-for-blow Hughes film, the viewer is left with the same feeling they would be in a Hughes film – the feeling that these characters are really human, and the story has a heart.

Emma Stone is no Molly Ringwald, but by this I mean no disrespect. Ringwald grew to fame by playing the delicate, pretty girl that was either too popular (Breakfast Club) or overlooked (Sixteen Candles) but no matter what character she was, she was always delicate and understated. Emma Stone is not. Emma Stone is the Huges character for a modern generation – when situations arise that challenge her, Stone’s Olive makes the situation more obvious and pushes it to the next level attempting to throw her peers folly back on them.

What struck me most after watching Easy A was something I didn’t expect; I was struck by how Easy A could be a commentary for how a generation of teenagers is so vastly different from the teens of the 80’s. While our parents always tell us the differences between our struggles and theirs is only circumstantial, this film proves that wrong. In Sixteen Candles the worst thing that can happen to Samantha in Sixteen Candles is that a freshman pays five bucks to see her underwear, but in Easy A the worst thing that can happen to Olive is that men pay money to date her.

Director: Will Gluck

Olive: Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80's movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80's movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.

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