March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Newbie surges onto Hollywood scene

It seems Hollywood has found another funny redheaded ingénue while Lindsay Lohan gets her life together. With the witty and entertaining “Easy A,” Emma Stone stakes her claim to ginger-haired supremacy and keeps the audience fully entertained from beginning to end.

The story of “Easy A” is simple yet entertaining. When lonely nerd Olive (Stone) lies to her friend about losing her virginity, the rumor spreads quickly, and within minutes Olive is branded the new school tramp. When her gay friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) hears about her new reputation, he offers her $100 to fake a hookup with him to save him from some bullying. From there, the lie spirals out of control, and Olive must deal with her new reputation as best she can.

While the plot is nothing new, it’s still quirky and relevant. Since the beginning, “Easy A” has been advertised as a teenage-update of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” and the movie differs from the novel because of its modern twist. Rather than people talking on the street like in the book, rumors spread through text messages during homeroom.

While Hester Prynne is avoided by everyone in society, Olive is harassed by everyone in school. Olive explains the plot in her video blog, but after a while, the explanation gets too heavy-handed.

The movie has a solid teenage cast, but the real comedy comes from the adult actors. Olive’s parents, played by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, are kooky former hippies who pass no judgment on their daughter for her new notoriety. At a family dinner when Olive refuses to admit the word that sent her to the principal’s office, they hilariously ask her to spell it out with her peas, so her younger brother won’t hear.

Stone truly comes into her own in the movie, proving she’s perfectly poised to take over in the witty chick flick department. Stone is droll and funny when she showcases her comedic timing in her “hookup” scene with Byrd. She proves she can sing with an energetic rendition of “Pocketful of Sunshine” in her bedroom. With her raunchy sense of humor and her sassy personality, she brings the film together as more than just a teenage sex comedy.

While Olive’s video blog made for some good lines ­— she quips that Judy Blume should have prepared her for her fake first time — the format got annoying and repetitive, which dumbed down the story. The plot is told through a flashback as she whines into a webcam that she’s misunderstood. The full-on summary of Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter” was unnecessary.

Downfalls aside, the film followed in the footsteps of “10 Things I Hate About You,” a 1999 movie adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, “Taming of the Shrew,” by playfully adding a young, perky cast to an older story.

Throughout “Easy A,” there was this unconscious sense that a star was being born from her stilettos up. Whether she’s playing the bad girl or the innocent one, Stone has it covered. With an adept cast, sharp dialogue and twisted humor, “Easy A” is fully worth its scandalously good reputation.

“Easy A” was written by Bert V. Royal and directed by Will Gluck.