Easy A

Here’s my prediction: Easy A is going to be this decade’s 10 Things I Hate About You. Funny, but flawed, Easy A is probably going to be remembered as Emma Stone’s coming-out party, with a performance that is as charming, witty, and delightful as the script will allow her to be.

Sharing in Stone’s seamless charm are Patricia Clarkson and, especially, Stanley Tucci, playing her parents. The Penderghasts, as they are called, are a constantly performing family, who create a playful, respectful, and imaginative home, where their children have the space to learn and grow for themselves, with a constant understanding that the playful pretense can be dropped as soon as the situation calls for a little more gravity.

And don’t you dare pretend there’s no gravity here. We are talking about a movie that deals with infidelity, promiscuity (whether real or imagined), mockery of the religious right, and briefly touches on gay teen suicide. But no, these are not the topics that draw out somber Stanley Tucci, rather it is the idea of his daughter being sad. It’s a little disheartening that a movie that is so convinced of its mold-breaking, sweeps so much under the rug, asking you to chuckle rather than think too hard.

Speaking of its general illusion of newness, it’s all just a big, smelly lie. Easy A thinks that because it acknowledges the kinds of teen comedies that it is indebted to, with its self-deprecating introduction and conscientious references, it is somehow different or better than the John Hughesian films it so very much wants to be. It’s like someone had spent too much time watching Pretty In Pink and Sixteen Candles and thought that by setting them in a very very specific present, the hokey, unresolved, unsatisfactory ending would just sort of take care of itself. This film asks the question “What would Ferris tweet?” and there’s little doubt that without Stone taking the lead, more cracks would show, channeling more of a Home Alone 3 John Hughes rather than The Breakfast Club.

But, as I’ve said a few times already, there’s some funny to be had, nearly all of which based on scathing sarcasm and witty banter. And then there’s the scene that has ruined my ability to think of any song other than Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocket Full Of Sunshine.” For this, Easy A, I hate you. For everything else, I give you a tentative, reassuring pat on the head and wait to see how well you age.

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