At the beginning of Easy A, Olive Penderghast tells us that she would like her life to be like an 80’s movie. She wishes John Hughes directed her life, so she could ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey or find John Cusack holding a boom box outside her window. It turns out that Olive’s life is similar to a John Hughes movie (and in a smart move by the writers, 80’s movie references abound in the dialogue). Her story starts when her English class is reading The Scarlet Letter, and in a feeble attempt to be noticed by her hilarious but self-absorbed best friend Rhee, Olive sarcastically tells her that she lost her virginity to a college guy. Rhee believes it, and soon Olive has a reputation she didn’t create, but might as well embrace, as it comes with a new found notoriety. Wackiness ensues when Olive decides she can make money off the deal and help her gay, unpopular, or unattractive friends by charging them money to tell people they slept with her.
The rest of the plot purposely resembles The Scarlet Letter, and slyly references its predecessors in the teen rom-com genre. I know you’re thinking that it sounds just like every other teen movie ever. But what sets Easy A apart from its counterparts is the witty dialogue, smart acting, and a sharp sense of humor. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, nor does the writer assume that the audience is made up of idiots. Teens will love the self referential humor, as well as the shrewd observations about life in high school. Adults will love the witty banter and the charming cast. Emma Stone is delightful as Olive, and Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci are hilarious as Olive’s hippie parents.
I was delighted that Easy A was so smart and funny, since I knew it would be an inevitable addition to my collection, which is already bursting at the seams with teen angst and romantic comedy. I can’t resist watching it every time it’s on TV, or even every time I see it on my DVD shelf.