What a refreshing, well penned film. Taking the well trodden teen angst high school film and poking fun at it while also telling a very interesting story, Easy A is one of the freshest films I've seen in quite some time. The tone is irreverent and upbeat, even while taking shots at the very genre the film fits into, thanks to the sure handed direction of Will Gluck and a fabulous script.
The hidden message here is spouted towards the film's end by the always wonderful Patricia Clarkson (and what a joy to see she and Stanley Tucci doing comedy together - both so smooth and natural): "you'll get through this the same way I did, with irrepressible humor!"
Clarkson delivers some real zingers in this. For example, when their adopted 10 year old proudly reports that he got a B+ on a spelling test, she deadpans "so what, everyone has spell check nowadays".
There's also a fun scene when a schoolmate comes to visit the film's heroine, Olive (a star making performance by Emma Stone). The boy asks "Is Olive here?" and Clarkson replies "hmm, well, we have a whole jar of Olives in the fridge, want some?" Then she yells upstairs to Olive "Honey, you have a gentleman caller" which prompts Olive to put on her best Scarlett O'Hara/ Blanch DuBois and drawl "oh thank goodness, I was prepared to spend my dowry on drugs and alcohol."
The story, in case you've been living with Osama Bin Laden until recently, involves a small lie that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Olive tells a persistent friend that she slept with a college student. This puts the heretofore anonymous Olive into the limelight as a trollop and fallen woman, hence the referral (nicely margined into the film) to Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter.
While some of the high school characters remain cliché there remains a certain freshness and a bit of depth, especially in the case of the film's main protagonist, the prissy, god squadder (in yet another solid portrayal, this one by Amanda Bynes).
There are countless references to other films, from paying homage to John Hughes, to poking fun at the recent Demi Moore adaptation of The Scarlet Letter, to a couple of hilarious references to Huck Finn (Olive at one point says that having a young boy run away with a large black man doesn't even happen in the movies - which of course is exactly what happens in THIS movie... so Olive throws out "my apologies to Mister Twain"). The film then goes a step further, late in the film showing the gay boy with his black boyfriend, watching the old black and white Huck Finn film. Huck and the "large black man" are on the raft and Huck says, "You must be tired, let me steer", to which the man replies "Thankee no, Mr. Huck, I's likes to steer"... which I'm sure was innocent enough at the time, but in this context, with two gays watching is hilariously suggestive.
In this era of gross out humor, this script is a marvel, being funny with intelligence and panache, its take on modern teens all the more real because the film doesn't take itself seriously in its delivery.