Teen comedies have been in the doldrums for a while – the last decent one being 2004’s Mean Girls – so Easy A is a very welcome breath of fresh air that also creates a star out of its leading lady, Emma Stone (Zombieland, Superbad). Like Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You before it, the movie uses a classic novel as its inspiration – in this case, The Scarlet Letter – mixing a morality tale with delicious witticisms and teen traumas.
High school student Olive (Stone) fibs to her best friend about losing her virginity (she didn’t), and suddenly finds herself the hot topic of the school. Enjoying the attention, she agrees to pretend she’s had sex with a male pal to save him from being bullied, and before she knows it the lie has escalated out of control and unpopular kids are lining up to pay for her ‘services’ – lies about trysts with her they think will make them popular. Labelled the school slut, Olive vamps up her wardrobe (even adding scarlet ‘A’s to her clothing, like The Scarlet Letter’s Hester Prynne) and incurs the wrath of sanctimonious student Marianne (Bynes). What started out as a small lie becomes something much, much bigger, that threatens to ruin Olive’s school career and the lives of those around her, including sweet pal Woodchuck Todd (Gossip Girl’s Badgley), so named because he is the school mascot, and married teachers Mr and Mrs Griffith (Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow).
Anchored by a pitch-perfect performance from Stone, whose wisecracks to camera are a treat (she is telling the tale of what happened to a webcam, you see), this is packed with one-liners, warm tributes to the teen movies of Cameron Crowe and John Hughes, and lovely supporting performances from a cast that also includes Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s quirky parents. Add a great soundtrack and this is truly one of the best teen movies in years – and one that will be loved by the over-19s, too.
Is Easy A suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
None. Do note, however, this is a 15 certificate and there are sexual themes and language aimed at older children (and grown-ups!) only.