Sunday, September 26, 2010

Easy A ***1/2

Starring Emma Stone, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Amanda Bynes, Alyson Michalka and Penn Badgley

Rated PG-13
(for mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language and some drug material)

Directed by Will Gluck

Written by Bert V. Royal

* * * 1/2

A Red-Letter Flick

Cast Member Emma Stone attends the premiere of the motion picture romantic comedy Easy A , at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on September 13, 2010. UPI/Jim Ruymen Photo via Newscom

Emma Stone is on her way to being a bona fide star. Vogue magazine has dubbed her the next Sandra Bullock. She has perfect comedic timing and is totally believable as both the invisible nerd and the salacious school harlot. “Easy A” manages to be smart without trying too hard and it’s laugh-out-loud funny thanks to Stone’s slapstick humor and some quirky, spicy writing.

Stone plays Olive, a quick-witted teen who doesn’t always make the best social decisions. While recanting her first sexual experience to her obnoxious best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka), the school’s deeply religious abstinence-promoter Marianne overhears and promptly spreads it throughout the school. The twist: Olive is lying to Rhiannon. Her virginity is still very much intact.

What unfolds next is silly, yes, but incredibly entertaining. As Olive herself fuels the fire of her reputation, she goes from being the invisible girl to the ostracized, infamous school whore. She likens her situation to the character Hester Prynn in “The Scarlet Letter,” which her English class is reading. A nasty rumor often spreads at the speed of light. The film is a study on how quick people are to believe it and demonize the subject, before ever determining if it is based in truth.

Stone is an absolute joy to watch, whether she is parading around the school hallways in Ray Bans, her corset-top emblazoned with a bright red A or singing at the top of her lungs to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.”

The supporting cast features a variety of comedic gems including Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci. Kudrow and Church play teachers and Clarkson and Tucci are Olive’s laid back, super cool parents. Amanda Bynes is deliciously funny as Marianne and Penn Badgley is also delicious as Woodchuck Todd, the only student who is indifferent to the rumors.

Keep an eye on Miss Stone. Her turn as leading lady proves she has the raw talent to stake her claim in Hollywood.

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