‘Easy A’ makes the grade

Matt Busekroos

It’s not nice to be called a skank, but Emma Stone embraces her inner tramp in the new teen comedy, “Easy A.”

Stone portrays Olive, a high school nobody who is thrown into the center of the popularity ring when a false rumor goes around school that she lost her virginity. Amanda Bynes is Christian goody-goody Marianne, who is one part Rachel McAdams in “Mean Girls” and another part Mandy Moore in “Saved!” Marianne spreads the rumor after hearing Olive tell her best friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) in the girl’s bathroom.

After the rumor spreads, a snotty classmate suggests that Olive embroider an “A” on her wardrobe like Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter.” The “A” symbolizes Hester’s (and Olive’s) seedy behavior. Olive does just that and becomes a Mother Theresa of sorts, helping the less fortunate guys tell others that she hooked up with them in exchange for gift cards.

Stone joins Molly Ringwald and Alicia Silverstone in the pantheon of classic female leads in teenage comedies.  As Olive, Stone is tough and never wavers from her convictions. It’s not until she goes out on what she thinks is a real date that Olive’s tough exterior slowly begins to crumble.

Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci are hilarious as Olive’s parents. The two are atypical and have a comfortable and open relationship with their daughter. They even tell her to spell out a dirty word that she called one girl in school in peas. Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow also provide nice support as Olive’s English teacher and guidance counselor, respectively.

“Easy A” references several classic teenage comedies. Olive specifically mentions that she wishes her life could be a John Hughes movie. Director Will Gluck takes several liberties with his references to classic literature (“The Scarlet Letter,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”) as well as teenage comedies from the past (“Say Anything,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”).

While not quite reaching the highs of any of the classic Hughes films from the ‘80s or even 2004’s “Mean Girls,” “Easy A” makes the grade.

Photo credit: Sony Entertainment