After seeing Easy A, I’ve decided to start a petition for a prequel. Surely, many movie fans like me want to see more about the bizarrely wonderful parents, played to perfection by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, who raised such an amazing teenage daughter in this clever comedy. Yes, Emma Stone gives a star-making performance here, but Tucci and Clarkson almost steal the movie from her. Their funny, nonjudgmental child-rearing techniques make this film something special indeed.
Still, the charismatic Stone (Zombieland) grabs our attention right from the beginning – and we are hooked on the misadventures of a high school student who tells a lie that changes her social status and gives her great power to help or hurt others. “The reports of my promiscuity are greatly exaggerated,” Olive (Stone) tells us as the narrator of her story. She then takes us back to the fateful day when her friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) pesters her for details about a make-believe date she had during the last weekend. Olive ends up claiming she “did it” with a community college student – even though she spent the entire weekend at home.
Overhearing this conversation, Marianne (the always funny Amanda Bynes), leader of the school’s Christian group, starts spreading the word. The immediate result? Olive becomes the most talked-about member of the student body, receiving more attention than she ever imagined possible. But one lie leads to another, and soon Brandon (Don Byrd), a gay student, persuades Olive to say she had sex with him so the guys will stop bullying him.
Olive deals with all this with sarcastic humor, even dressing seductively and wearing an “A” on her clothes, in honor of Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Other male students follow Brandon’s suit, for they want to brag about their sexual exploits also. Olive reluctantly agrees but starts accepting financial gifts for this service, which doesn’t fit in with her character. It’s not long before Olive’s reputation goes from “popular” to “poisonous” -- because of the rumor mill -- and serious damage is done to someone Olive cares about. What can she do to make things right? The plan she devises is pure Olive -- plus lots of fun to watch her carry out.
Despite the lack of judgment Olive demonstrates in this movie, we can’t help wanting a happy ending for her. We admire her willingness to help others, her snarky sense of humor, her healthy relationship with her family, and her innate intelligence. All these characteristics come through loud and clear in Stone’s marvelous performance.
In addition to Tucci (The Lovely Bones) and Clarkson (The Station Agent), Stone receives splendid support from other cast members including: Thomas Haden Church (Smart People) as a concerned teacher; Lisa Kudrow (Hotel for Dogs) as the worst guidance counselor ever, and Penn Badgley (The Stepfather) as a fellow student who has eyes only for Olive.
Is there a message in Easy A? More than one, I think. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Nobody’s perfect. The ends don’t justify the means. The road to “you know where” is paved with good intentions. Thou shalt not lie. It’s not easy being a high school student. And -- last but not least -- an Easy A prequel co-starring Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson absolutely must be filmed as soon as possible. If you’d like to sign my petition regarding this prequel, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Released by Screen Gems and rated “PG-13” for mature thematic elements including teen sexuality, language and some drug material.)
For more information about this film, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.