Written by Bert V. Royal
Directed by Will Gluck
Starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes and Thomas Haden Church
Olive: I used to be invisible. If Google Earth were a guy, he couldn’t find me if I were a ten-storey building.
What Ojai, California, high school student, Olive Penderghast, has to go through in director, Will Gluck’s EASY A to get her “A” cannot be described as anything remotely close to easy. That said, sitting back and watching everything she has to go through is one of the easiest things you’ll ever have to do. Not only does Glick make it easy for us to enjoy his second feature film, he makes sure we learn a thing or two while we’re in the midst of losing ourselves in hysterical laughter. Did I mention this is a teen comedy?
We are first introduced to Olive on her webcam. The lovely Emma Stone stares directly at us as Olive and tells us flat out that we are about to hear her side of a story, which she insists to us is in fact the right side of the story. She proceeds to tell us in incremental chapters about how one lie she told to her best friend in a bathroom about how she lost her virginity to a college boy over the weekend, spiraled out of control and ruined her life. She has a face you want to believe but we have no reason to trust her really. It is Stone’s conviction that ultimately sells it though; she is a sharp, young lady but her vulnerability is never disregarded and I can’t think of any reason why she would make any of this up.
EASY A is easily one of the funniest films I’ve seen all year. The entire ensemble, from Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive’s ultra-open-minded parents to Thomas Haden Church as Olive’s favourite teacher, are hilarious and seem to be having the best of times in their roles. Essentially, the whole thing is infectious and leaves a lasting impression because it goes beyond the sharp, witty dialogue we’ve come to expect in any teen comedy effort to show us that intelligence and growth are not yet lost on the young.