Re-Watch: Easy A (2010)

Easy A
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Malcolm McDowell, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Dan Byrd, Cam Gigandet, Fred Armisen
Seen on: 29.11.2019
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: sexual assault, abuse

Olive (Emma Stone) is a good student, though not a particularly popular one. But when a rumor is started that she sleeps around, it puts a quick end to her going unnoticed. Not content with just accepting the sexist double standard, Olive gets into a catfight with the religious do-gooder Marianne (Amanda Bynes), poses as a sex partner for various guys (who are gay or unpopular) and causes general mayhem at her school.

For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I had kinda not liked Easy A all that much when I first watched it (reading my review from back then, that seems not to be true) and that I wanted to give it another try because everybody else seemed to love it so much. Having done so now, I can confidently say that it is a fun film with even some feminist attempts, but it does have problems and I am still not sure why Easy A is the cult classic it seems to have become.

The film poster showing Olive (Emma Stone) in front of a blackboard. There are misogynist curses on the blackboard with arrows pointing at her. She holds a sign that reads: The rumour-filled totally FALSE account of HOW I RUINED my flawless reputation.

The film is fun, there is no doubt about it. I’d say it’s really immensely entertaining. Emma Stone is great, Penn Badgley is cute, but it’s the adults around them that really make the film – above all Olive’s parents (Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson) and her English teacher (Thomas Haden Church). While they don’t have many scenes, they make the most out of them.

What does sit a little uncomfortably with me is the entire plotline involving the guidance counsellor (Lisa Kudrow) who sleeps with a student. How abusive that is, is never really acknowledged and I think that’s only possible because it’s a female adult sleeping with a male teen. One of those double standards that could have been a nice parallel for how Olive’s (supposed) promiscuity ruins her reputation and increases those of the guys she (allegedly) sleeps with. But the film doesn’t go there at all.

Olive (Emma Stone) walking through school in a revealing outfit with a red A.

It’s also slightly disappointing that it doesn’t really make much of the genuinely feminist core of the film. Instead, it somehow manages to make Olive’s reputation a reason for why she’s sexually assaulted which just sucks. Should have done without that particular plot point or dealt with it more critically.

But if you take the film at face value as a teen comedy, it will definitely entertain you. You just have to look somewhere else for actual revolution instead of just revolutionary potential.

Olive (Emma Stone) talking to Todd (Penn Badgley) in his mascot costume.

Summarising: Fun, but has some issues.

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