Monday, June 14, 2010

Easy A

A month ago I saw the trailer for Easy A and thought, oh no, the Scarlet Letter converted into a High School satire. This will not work. This looks terrible. Then I was offered up a months early free screening. Okay, I will be there. What happened was something that made me sad for a different reason.

The movie starts and we get a couple good jokes. Then the credits are rolling the cast list. It keeps getting more and more impressive. Okay, this could be good. Then we get the You Tube video diary. Move two spaces back. Then Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson show up. Move two spaces forward. I struggled with this movie throughout the entire run time of the film.

Easy A is very close to good. It is one draft away from being a great biting satire. It is so close to being pitch perfect. But the middling of tone and self awareness that helps keep balance during the movie also keeps it from being great. It's taking no chances. There is nothing here to set it above the rest. This is more like a crazy cousin than a cool uncle. I'm tired of movies referencing other movies. On the one hand, you're obviously stealing from what has come before. And how do we get away with it? By pointing it out directly. Hey, yeah we know John Hughes made this movie. Yeah we understand jokes about lawn mowers from "Can't Buy Me Love".

The cast must have signed on because of the script. They saw something in it that they felt was worth seeing it put to screen. No one is earning a paycheck here. Thomas Hayden Church, Emma Stone, Cam Gigandet (showing he can be in on the fun too, playing the oldest high schooler, which he did years earlier in The O.C.), Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell as well as Stanley and Patricia I mentioned earlier. Also Amanda Bynes, whom I almost didn't recognize. And why should I, never having seen any of her shows or movies before.

It was also the first time I have ever seen the lead actor billed last. I think it was because they wanted her name to show up when we first see her on screen, but it was still strange. Overall, it follows some beats of the Scarlet Letter. It's a high school comedy. But there are some subversive things here. I would say it would rank along movies like Fired Up and She's Out of Your League. But better than those (but not by much). This won't make money. It will be on Comedy Central repeats a lot. It won't be marketed well and you'll see the commerical and think "look at that garbage. Pass." but you really could do a lot worse. All I ask for from a comedy are laughs, and there are plenty here.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?
Possibly. But only if part of a double feature or another free screening with nothing else going on.

Would you buy it?

Would you rent it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?


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