- Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast
- Penn Badgley as Woodchuck Todd
- Amanda Bynes as Marianne Bryant
- Thomas Haden Church as Mr. Griffith
- Lisa Kudrow as Mrs. Griffith
- Aly Michalka as Rhiannon
- Dan Byrd as Brandon
- Patricia Clarkson as Rosemary Penderghast
- Stanley Tucci as Dill Penderghast
- Malcolm McDowell as Principal Gibbons
Funny, insightful and above all relatable, Easy A examines in comedic fashion that effects that a few little white lies can have on you and your reputation in the puzzling jungle known as high school. Headed by the excellent Emma Stone, Easy A is well above the average teen comedy and is one of the best I’ve seen in my recent memory, mainly because of its razor-sharp script and funny reworking of The Scarlet Letter.
Olive Penderghast is an average high school girl, who while not the most popular girl in school is not the most unpopular either. In order to get out of a camping trip with her best friend Rhiannon, Olive lies and says she lost her virginity having a passionate weekend with a boy. Unfortunately, Marianne, the zealously religious girl, begins to spread the rumour around the school and soon Olive has a reputation as the school tart. Now everyone is gossiping about her alleged personal life whereas before no one really took notice of her, she confides in another friend Brandon, who has recently come out as gay. Suffering bullying at the hands of the other students, he begs Olive to pretend she slept with him. Out of kindness, Olive agrees and when this rumour gets around she embraces the title as a harlot. Funnily enough, her reputation begins to mirror The Scarlet Letter, a book she has recently been studying in English class. But after a while, she begins to see that the reputation has gotten out of hand and is impacting on her relationships with those around her. She decides that maybe it is time she revealed the truth. But will anyone believe her?
The first thing to note in Will Gluck’s movie is the remarkable script it has. Delving into the thorny thicket of teenage gossip and anxiety, it crafts a relatable yet still funny look at the machinations of social standing that occur in high school. Laughs and equal amounts of drama occur, with the cast ably handling both with aplomb. References to John Hughes movies and classic 80’s films abound and will certainly raise a smile from many, including one scene that re-enacts both Say Nothing and The Breakfast Club.The eclectic soundtrack assembled accompanies much of the film, and provides many laughs along the way. A highlight for me has to be Olive singing “Pocketful of Sunshine” for almost the whole weekend, I really couldn’t stop laughing after viewing this scene.
Emma Stone is smart, sexy and touching as Olive, who finds herself branded the Hester Prynne of her school after that little white lie became public knowledge. She excellently captures the caring side of her and the willingness to help others, whilst also showing a charismatic sense of humour when people turn on her. Olive is a character who many can identify with and much of this adds to the success of Easy A. Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl film makes his role as the boy who sees through the lies and manages to woo Olive, more interesting than it could have been. As the zealous Marianne, Amanda Bynes is particularly good, her scenes with Stone providing many comedic highlights. One being Marianne telling Olive that a higher power won’t approve of her depraved behaviour. Olive’s witty reply “Tom Cruise” will have you laughing for ages. Thomas Haden Church and Lisa Kudrow in supporting roles perform very well as married teachers. Dan Byrd as Brandon earns sympathy as the much bullied Brandon who Olive helps out. Aly Michalka is a cheeky presence as the bossy Rhiannon. And rounding out the cast are Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive’s super groovy parents, who steal every scene in which they appear. Look out for Malcolm McDowell in a humorous cameo as the principal.
What could have been another clichéd teen movie becomes something much greater in the form of Easy A. If it’s a teen movie that probes into many issues facing youths on a daily basis and a fine cast fleshing out the eccentric roles of this modern take on The Scarlet Letter, Easy A may be the film you’ve been searching for.