An “Easy A” For Emma Stone

Easy A attempts to tackle the issues of high school drama and peer pressure in a light-hearted manner.  The movie is also linked to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, although the association is loose at best.

The main character, Olive, who is played superbly by Emma Stone, inadvertently spreads a rumor that she will sleep with people for money.  She then plays up the ostracization that she has to deal with at school.  At first she enjoys the attention because at least she’s getting some kind of attention.  And she does try to help others.

The story, even though Olive says it’s not typical, is rather typical of a movie based around high school.  That doesn’t mean it’s bad.  The main issue I had with it was the mocking of Christianity.  Amanda Bynes plays a character, Marianne, who is described as a stuck-up “Jesus freak.”  And for the most part, she acts like an idiot.

I’m tired of Hollywood defaulting to bashing Christianity.  Yes, there are Christian hypocrites.  Yes, there are those that act “holier-than-thou.”  But there are also sanctimonious environmentalists who think they are better than their neighbors because they drive a hybrid and use energy-saving light bulbs.  There are people who look down on others for going into a trade school rather than a four-year school.  The “moral”?  There are hypocrites in every walk of life.

You might wonder why I’m going on about this in a review.  Well, there is a reason.  Emma Stone was so excellent in the part of Olive, and the movie could have been a lot better, but there was the jarring dissonance of blaming the problems in high school on “fundamentalists.”  Amanda Bynes did what she could with the part, but it still rang false, as if she couldn’t really believe in it herself.  And Bynes can do crazy well–watch She’s The Man for proof.

Easy A is worth watching to see an up-and-comer with serious talent, and to see Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s parents.  They get an “easy A,” but the writer gets a “C for cop-out” on this one.