Easy A


Available on Blu-ray, DVD, for rental on Amazon for $2.99 & on tonight @ 7:00 pm on FXX

Rated PG-13 for language and sexual themes, content and dialogue

Review contains mild spoilers

This Catch Up is written by Telaina Eriksen

This is the movie that truly launched Emma Stone’s career. She shines in this film as high school student Olive, who in a fit of exasperation and boredom, tells her best friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) that she (Olive) has lost her virginity over the weekend. Olive’s lie is overheard by Marianne (Amanda Bynes) the school’s vehement evangelical Christian. Marianne spreads the word of Olive’s alleged sluttiness all over the school. This results in Olive calling Marianne’s best friend the “T-word” (which Olive later spells out in peas to her parents so she doesn’t repeat it in front of her little brother) during English class. Olive gets sent down to the principal who sentences Olive to detention for this lewd outburst. Malcolm McDowell plays the harried principal who states to Olive, “This is PUBLIC school. If I can keep the girls off the pole and the boys off the pipe, I get a bonus.”

At detention, Olive spends time with Brandon (Dan Byrd) who also is doing time because he was “fighting.” Brandon is gay and being bullied. Olive feels sorry for him and wants to help him, and thus begins a string of events in which Olive is labeled and shamed and becomes the school whore, all while still being, in fact, a virgin.

There is a ton to love about this movie—supporting but great performances by Lisa Kudrow as the guidance counselor, Thomas Haden Church as Olive’s favorite teacher (how long ago was Wings on? How old am I?), Stanley Tucci as Olive’s father and a brief cameo by Portlandia’s Fred Armisen as Marianne’s pastor father. As an English professor, I loved the riffing on The Scarlet Letter and Huck Finn. Teenagers will recognize the strange cadre of people who haunt the halls of their high schools in these characters and parents will love the film’s references to 80s movies and its quick, sharp and smart dialogue.

The movie takes a dark turn and causes some introspection on the viewer’s part when Olive is groped in a dark parking lot by a high school boy who has heard about her “reputation” and is determined to be the next person to have sex with her. Not only does this scene show the very real differences between male and female sexual reputations but also the danger a woman is placed in in our society if she becomes known as “that kind of girl.”

In addition to a witty script and good acting, this movie has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in the last five years or so. It includes Dan Black’s Symphonies (which might be in my top 20 favorite songs ever) as well as Jessie J’s Sexy Silk and remakes of an 80s hit or two.

If you are an open-minded sort of family and have teens ages, say 14 and up, this is a great way to spend a couple hours together on a Friday or Saturday night. But if you are of a family more in the style of Marianne and her reverend father, you may want to skip this little gem.