Saturday, 28 May 2011

Easy A

***
This is an ably directed and well written teen comedy. I just shouldn’t have watched it. I’m not saying I’m entirely against teen flicks. They just have to be really good for this 38-year-old male to join in. (I know, I’m not exactly the target audience.)  But here I took the advice of my esteemed colleagues - the ones with erm, actual paid, reviewing jobs - and added Easy A to my Lovefilm list. Whereas they were pleasantly surprised by a film they expected nothing from, I sought it out for my viewing pleasure and actually paid to see it. (Not bitterness, I assure you. Just a simple fact, Jack.) Basically, it’s good but not that good and it’s just not for me.

Olive (Emma Stone) is a teenager who tells a tall tale about losing her virginity. The lie escalates into rumour at her high school and suddenly everything changes for her. Initially, for the better.

The film supplies some good laughs. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are particularly comical as her way-liberal parents. Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow also feature, albeit in more dramatic mode but to good effect. Nice to see all these distinguished actors unafraid to put in a performance in a minor role. Of course, it may actually be down to necessity (except for Lisa Kudrow who I imagine still has gazillions for her work on Friends), who knows. Their presence also makes up for the hit-and-miss performances of the younger cast.

The main trouble with the film is Olive’s self-aggrandising voice-over, which is told to webcam. For a young woman going through a turbulent emotional time she is a little too cocksure. While there are occasional glimpses of vulnerability, it’s mostly about her savvy social nous – which has only ever been witnessed before in teenagers in Dawson’s Creek. As a result, it’s rather grating.

3 comments:

  1. Surely the whole point of her character is that she gets into this situation and is able to comment on it because she is cocksure, and, as her father points out, always deals with things with a good sense of humour. It's these character traits which make Easy A, and Emma Stone's performance, so entertaining. She does indeed show a vulnerable side and just enough to count, any more and wouldn't this just be a film about bullying and victimisation, rather than the damn fine comedy that it is?

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  2. But it doesn't make her any less annoying. (And she is very annoying.) She lacks any kind of charm or grace which a young Molly Ringwald or Winona Ryder would have brought to the role, and still kept the balance of comedy and drama on an even keel.

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  3. Molly Ringwald: Charm and grace!!??!! Hilarious! (That was sarcastic wasn't it?)

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