Easy A deals with a potentially serious subject: the tendency of teenagers to turn like a pack of wolves on anyone who doesn’t fit in. But this isn’t some gritty realistic story. It’s more like a cheerfully ribald fairy tale with lots of laughs and a silly, upbeat ending.
Olive (Emma Stone), under pressure from her salacious best friend (Alyson Michalka), makes up a story about loosing her virginity. They are overheard by the self-appointed leader of the Morality Police (Amanda Bynes) and after the story has cycled through the rumor mill a few times Olive is branded as a major slut. This triggers her rebellious streak and she decides to have fun with it–but things get way out of hand.
The movie is pretty funny, but it suffers from a major case of the Plain Girl Who Looks Like a Movie Star Syndrome. We’re expected to believe that Olive has never been asked out on a date, presumably because she if brainy and sardonic. However as played by Emma Stone she is so impossibly cute that I find it impossible to believe that no boy ever mustered the courage to ask her out. (Her parents, played by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, are also impossibly cute.)
And speaking of implausibility, what about a town in southern California that is mostly Anglo, where the principal of the public high school threatens to expel an honor student for using strong language? Would it really have been that hard to move the setting a few states over, to Oklahoma perhaps?
This gives the movie a somewhat retro feel. Come to think of it, if this had been made back in the 1960s or 1970s it would have been stunning and revolutionary.
As it is, the movie is taking no great risks, and isn’t above taking a few cheap shots. The good people of Florida certainly have cause for complaint. Fundamentalist Christians will probably complain too. But honestly, haven’t we all met someone like Marianne?