Easy A - 2nd October 2010

The best way to describe Emma Stone is that she is like someone took the successful comediennes and actresses from the last 40 years of movies, fed them into some vast, clunky, steam belting machine in the basement of some giant Hollywood studio and out she popped. What's more miraculous is that it worked out just great. 
She is able to be hip, cool and desirable whilst being kooky, awkward and physically funny like a young Diane Keaton, she is able to pull off intelligent and witty dialogue or be hard and sarcastic like a Candice Bergen, she can do happy abandon, charm, laughter and has great emotional chops like a Julia Roberts and even has the husky, smokes 3 packs a day, voice of Demi Moore. In Zombieland she showed she might even make a half-decent action chick like Sigourney Weaver and if, in the future, she shows the ability to improvise like she must've had to do on the set of Superbad then there might even be a streak of Jane Lynch in there also. 
That's not to say that she is fully matured into anything like these people yet and she still hasn't found a movie vehicle that would show all of these talents off properly but there is great potential there, I think.
It is certainly a good sign that after a while of playing second or third fiddle, that she has finally been given a leading role in something, it's just a shame that, in terms of story-line at least, Easy A feels like a bit of a step back. Basically, like the film all but admits, it attempts to be a John Hughes tinged, 80s alike high school comedy. Which is what it should've been without heralding its homages or references like a fog horn strapped to fire siren. 
If the people watching it don't understand the bit where the male romantic interest stands on top of a lawn mower, holding speakers above his head which are blaring Simple Minds hit "Don't you forget about me" then they've either been under a rock for the last 30 years or they are too young to care.
However, despite the annoying habit of the script to go "oh look I made a Ferris Bueller reference" it is actually fairly funny, smart in places and well directed. 
Apart from Emma Stone, who wanders through the movie hitting all the right notes but also hinting at being a little bit above it all at this point, the rest of the high school kids are fairly anonymous and seem to be divided into religious right-leaning, loony hypocrites or tartish gossip-mongers who are really judgmental prudes. I am not sure how realistic any of this is and neither do I particularly care, I don't have to go back to high school and deal with these annoying brats. The point is, unlike a John Hughes or a Cameron Crowe movie, it doesn't feel realistic in the slightest and while an 80s high school film by either of the two aforementioned directors may have no more real substance to it than Easy A, they always felt like a very realistic slice of American teen life because of the diversity and recognisability of the characters. 
I am too old, of course, to make any judgements on any of this.
The only other characters in the kids camp that we get brief glimpses at are the sorry sad sacks who pay Miss Stone's character, with crappy store vouchers, to say that they had some form of sexual relation with her. This apparently increases their popularity but slowly corrodes hers, again, I am not sure if that makes any actual sense. These kids in question are the typical cliche list of movie losers, a gay, a fatty, a spotty, an indian and so on. If we spent any more screen time with any of them it might not seem so, well, old fashioned and cringy. 
Also, in the light of the recent furor over the bullying of gays in school to the point of suicide, in some cases, that has just hit the states, I am surprised there haven't been more comments about the character in this film who pleads that because he's routinely bullied for being gay, the best thing for him to do is pretend to be a sexually active hetrosexual. Despite the highly depressing underlying truth to that, is that a message to put out there?

Ok, so I got a little serious there for a moment and I apologise. 
To the adult characters now and it seems, from the supporting cast, like the studio panicked, weren't sure if Emma Stone could pull this off all by herself (she could probably do it in her sleep actually), and so surrounded her with every sort of quirky B list character actor doing their clever b list quirky thing. We get Stanley 'I am secretly in every movie made in the last 6 years' Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as the wisecracking, carefree, sexually open, liberal parents, Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow as the requisite understanding, yet flawed, dead pan teachers in a failing marriage, Fred 'what am I doing here' Armisen (from SNL) as a rubbish priest and bizarrely, rounding it all out, Malcolm Mcdowell, in a 'what were they thinking?' cameo as a stern, weird headmaster.
Out of this odd bunch of misfits, it is, of course, Tucci that comes off best, reprising the role of 'Hey I am laid back comedy man' Stanley Tucci that he has played in 9 of his last 10 films. Someone please get him and Oliver Platt back together for another film like The Impostors before they become repetitive caricatures of their former selves (too late!?!)

Overall then it's a bit of a mess. The morals are all over the place, the reactions of people, to the lies she's telling, are strange and over-the-top, the fact that there'd be so many losers in one place to the point where she would be branded such a slut is a little hard to swallow, the weird veering between happy go lucky high school sex comedy to scenes where a guidance councilor admits to sex with a pupil, albeit an old one, that leads to a divorce and a scene where a guy misses the point and tries to force himself on Emma Stone in a parking lot, seems not to be handled so smoothly and fairly out of place and, finally, with its tacked on, the guy I've always liked suddenly notices me romantic sub-plot, I was wandering at the end what the point in any of it was.
All that said, mind you, the jokes came thick and fast, I was trying to follow it all the way, I stayed awake, the acting, where it counted, was good, the director competent and if you are 18 and with a good sense of humour, while this will never be your Sixteen Candles or your Say Anything, it's still worth a look in.
If not, stay home and rent The Breakfast Club instead, you won't regret it.

6.5 out of 10 veggie burgers
Points from The Misses 8 out of 10 veggie burgers

Final Destination - 8th October 2010

The Town - 25th September 2010