Monday, January 17, 2011

Easy A on DVD

You're probably already wondering why a morality-conscious viewer like me would watch a movie about a girl who pretends to sleep with the entire school to boost everyone's reputation and create one of her own. To protect all the innocent and guilty involved in this possibly questionable decision of mine, let's just skip the how's and get into what the movie was all about.

Emma Stone plays the opinionated-and-not-afraid-to-voice-it Olive as she gives, in her own words, "the rumor-filled totally FALSE account of how I RUINED my flawless reputation." One lie to a friend has the whole gossipy school believing Olive isn't a virgin anymore. When another friend asks her to pretend to sleep with him so that people stop picking on him for being gay, she agrees to help out, and he sends her a gift afterward. Thus begins her descent as all the dorks, nerds, and losers in the school begin paying her to let them pretend to sleep with her. All Olive has to do is act the part, and since her best friend has joined the protesters, including the not-so-Jesus-loving Jesus Freaks out to take Olive down, Olive retaliates by sewing big red A's over the breast of her newly-acquired-for-the-purpose wardrobe of lacy corsets, which she wears with jeans to school.

Obviously, The Scarlet Letter is an influence in this movie.

Emma Stone is hilarious in the role, and her parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, are the embodiment of cool, fun-loving, caring but not smothering parents as they let Olive figure out this phase of her life and offer encouragement without freaking out on her. This only works, of course, with parents who are confident in the daughter they have raised, and it serves to accentuate their daughter's morality in a movie about being a slut.

There's true romance to be found in the whole mess of Olive's life though, and the boy is a real keeper, not put off by Olive's big show, knowing the girl she really is. Altogether there are great characters played by great actors, and the movie would be, well, great...but it's pushed a little too far.

This movie compares to the book I just reviewed, Nightshade, in that the concept was intriguing and had redeeming value, but the execution contained just a little too much of all the wrong parts. After all, the lead role wears corsets throughout the movie. There's minor nudity near the beginning of the film. The language is sometimes crude with the B-word and S-word liberally sprinkled throughout. The humor is sometimes crass, for instance when Olive and her gay friend are moaning and grunting together to make people outside the door think they are doing it. A teacher has sex and lets Olive take the rap for it when Olive offers to, but later the teacher won't help Olive clear her name. If the movie was all about these things, I would steer you far, far clear. Even so, I don't recommend it to just anyone. I have a hard time recommending it at all, even with its redeeming value, but the themes are worth talking about and the end message is almost worth it all. Olive ends up in tears, when everyone hates her and she begins to hate herself, understandably. I appreciated what the movie had to say about gossip and self-sacrifice and even about morality.

It's still a secular movie, so it's not going to say that Olive stayed a virgin until her marriage, although even Olive suggests that possibility. I can forgive the movie its bad raps on the Church, and I think that should send a message to Christians (but, of course, no Christian will admit to watching this movie as it might damage reputation). I don't think we should act like sluttiness is okay, but we should leave the judging to God and accept the person, warts and all. Okay, done preaching.

So, how should I end this post? Easy, simple advice: don't watch the movie. Addendum: if you want to have some interesting discussion with a mature group, preview this movie and then share at your discretion. Two stars for crass content. Four stars out of five for themes and execution.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this movie! I found the dialog intelligent and Emma Stone was fabulous!


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