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November 3, 2010 / Prof Cupcake.

EASY A: grade inflations has gotten way out of hand

In teen chic flic world, the best source material has always been the novels of ‘ye olden times.’ Be it ‘Clueless’, ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ or  ‘She’s the Man’ ect.. The Elizebethan/Victorian world, of prim and proper chaste women, with nonetheless scandalous and clandestine relationships seems to have mutated into the high-school drama.

Maybe it’s because High School is the only believable time where people can fall in lust with each other and whine about it a lot while retaining our sympathy and not driving us to the aggravated conclusion that everything would be easier if they just got annoyingly drunk, slept with each other and regretted it later.

This is all just fine with me. I love high school films. I love the drama, the cheerleaders, the idea that prom might mean something, and that one day, you might wake up, take off your overalls pull your hair down and be hot. (All in less time then it takes to make pot noodles thanks to the wonders of the montage.) Mythical Hollywood high school is intense, scary and populated with 24 year olds. It’s a land where beautiful people are bitches and geeks have hearts of gold, where the football captain is smart, and the lovely unpopular girl manages to bag the stud. You know the stuff of fantasy, like dragons and the idea of a smaller gross domestic deficit. But for all of its absurdity, I still love it with an obsession that many clinical psychologists might denounce as signs of an impending departure from reality.

I COULD GROW UP TO BE THE PRINCESS OF GENOVIA!!!

When I’m not teetering on the brink of a self induced hallucination of being a popular high school student with an overbearing fathers and a rebellious streak that leads me to play guitar, I do just enjoy kicking back and zoning out to a film about high school.

Which is maybe why I have been pee my pants excited about Easy A for close to a year. It promised to be a smart revamping of THE SCARLET LETTER, (which is about one of my favorite topics, crazy puritans.) directed and written by Will Gluck. His script manages to mix a verbose girl with some cutting and clever pop culture references. Throw in a multiracial family with some cool parents, a hot guy with a six-pack and a gay best friend and you practically have a fool proof film.

Yet I was expecting more. It’s like thinking your getting home made birthday carrot cake only to find out you ordered Funfettie. (Not bad per say, just sugary and not worth 10 pounds.) The plot has a nearly unforgivable amount of errors and seems to have been written with the hope that the audience will just go only with it. (I mean hey people went along with transformers, why would they go along with the idea that a 17 year old girl, would fake sell her virginity for home depot coupons.) The motivation of the fabulous Emma Stone, who really does act the shit out of this role, lets the film down. Unlike ‘Mean Girl’s’ Cady played by Lindsay Lohan, Olive, (Emma Stone) does not seem real. Attractive, fun, smart and sassy she is in many ways the exact girl who would be very popular in a cali school. With out either a gross personal trait, a weird phase, a bizarre home life or something, her characters actions just seem like bizarre and unmotivated cries for attention.

As such the entire film suffers, it becomes hard to fully engage with the plot, as it is never strong enough to feel self contained and alive. Also unlike most high school films which utilize an entire school year, ‘Easy A’ takes place in a matter of weeks. As such the personal development which does occur is cheapened. (plus I think the only thing Olive learns is ‘your sex life can and should be private.’ And well… what is she going to talk about in college if she sticks to that self realization.)

Furthermore it’s almost incessant self-awareness grates on your ears. WE GET IT MR. GLUK you have recognized that most high school films have a totally unnecessary musical number, but simply drawing attention to that fact does not make your numbers better, in fact it elevates the bar. So why would you show clips of the epically great dance/musical/parade! In ‘Ferris Buler’s Day Off.’ when your version sucks and feels like a budget ‘high school musical’ rip off with a whores wardrobe.

Then there are the small things. Thomas Hayden Church and Lisa Kudrow have never been the best of actors but they manage to really fail to get on board with this film. Were in not for Stone’s exceptional skill, these scenes would be dire, rather then just painfully try hard.

Amanda Brynes face is scary and stanley tucci is referred to as a very straight man and that’s about the biggest elephant in Hollywood’s very pink room.

But hey, on the plus side Emma Stone is epic and it’s not nearly as bad as sleepover.

A solid three star film.

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