Does ‘Easy A’ Make the Grade?

Thought I would attempt to do what this blog was founded for, and review whatever piece of cultural irrelevance I happen to have recently viewed. Although there are plenty of legitimate reviews out there, I feel the need to add my two cents on the newest movie about how being a virgin at 17 seems like the WORST possible fate, more succinctly known as Easy A.

I will preface this by saying we had been eagerly viewing the trailer and looking to this movie as a contender for the title of Eponymous Teen Comedy, currently held by the undefeated Mean Girls.

The answer is, no. Which is unfortunate for Screen Gem’s go-to romantic comedy guy Will Gluck, but good news for restoring my confidence in Tina Fey. (Because we all know Baby Mama was terrible and I personally believe SNL has  become funnier since Daryl Hammond took the helm).

Overall the movie was funny the way re-watching Robin Williams LIVE on Broadway is funny: you know he’s going to reference his body hair, pull out the genie voice, and then say wildly inappropriate things for someone who has made all his money through Disney. You know you’re going to love it but you also know it’s nothing you haven’t heard a comedian say before. All the elements of a big budget studio comedy were there, but something just didn’t set right. The characters are funny, but the plot is a little loose. As much as John Hughes is referenced and as freakin’ weird Olive’s parents are, this script definitely does not achieve the non self-conscious quirk of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club.

Exhibit A: Dill’s (Stanley Tucci) references to his adopted son. I don’t count this as a spoiler alert, because the kid’s presence has literally no relevance to the plot. It is a very cute bit of comic relief, but lines such as “So where are you from, originally?” stand out as exactly that – comic relief. Imagine if, in real life, you were an adopted 10-year-old kid of African descent, and your family constantly referenced the fact of your otherness. What the hell? Tucci is adorable as the effervescent humorous dad, but these exact qualities make his character seem impossibly quirky. Part of the charm in every classic romantic comedy is that the parents have almost no self-identity and serve as comic relief because they’re absolutely clueless.

Several rises in action (such as Olive sewing red letter-A’s into her clothes) happened without much logical setup – either the stakes weren’t high enough or the time-lapse wasn’t apparent. All the truly significant people in her life stood by Olive as she went through her Hester Prynne-like trials and tribulations. Her ultimate lowest moment could have been a lot lower if these people had also lost faith in her purity. I mean, I was on the brink of tears anyway but I’m gonna go ahead and chalk that up to being slammed with a wall of hormones that morning. Had for example, the token man of interest suddenly lost interest because of Olive’s destructive actions, this would have been much more interesting and probably much more romantic in the finale.

Ups to Bert V. Royal (the actual writer) for including a gratuitous musical number. (my goal in life is to resurrect the musical comedy genre). This may have been Gluck’s doing as well, since his upcoming film Friends With Benefits may or may not include this blogger dancing in the middle of Times Square. Anyway, Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes also deserve recognition for comedic timing, even though Bynes played an underdeveloped version of Mandy Moore’s character in Saved.

Stanley Tucci, you are a surprisingly attractive turtle, particularly with your OC glow and Henley tees.

Lisa Kudrow was not used to her comedic capacity. Thomas Hayden Church overextended his.

At least the jokes, while still mostly one-liners, were smart.

After yet another teen movie set in California, where there’s copious amounts of outdoor seating, something called school spirit, and an inexplicable amount of Jesus freaks running about I have gathered that public high school in Orange County must be something I cannot comprehend and I should just stop complaining about all these strange movie tropes. At least there were no cheerleaders wearing their uniforms through the halls for NO APPARENT REASON.

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