Easy A

Easy A ★★★★½

Have I told you lately that I love Emma Stone? Because I so do. As such, it's kinda crazy that I hadn't seen her breakout performance until a week ago. Luckily for the both of us (that's you and I, dear reader, Emma probably has no idea that I exist. Probably), I've corrected that now. Easy A, as it turns out, features not only a great performance by one of our best young actresses, but it also is a really fun and emotionally complex movie.

There's a lot to be said about just how much screen presence means for a film. A version of this movie that is all the same except that it stars, say, Megan Fox, would probably end up being an acceptable film, but it wouldn't have nearly the grace nor wit that Emma Stone brings to the movie. While there's a little bit of disbelief suspending that must be done to buy such a shining presence as the loser she is supposed to be, Stone sells the hell out of it. Her home life, featuring Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as her mother and father, believably creates an environment that would forge this young woman, a person who relies upon her whip-sharp tongue to cover for a certain lack of social skills. This is the way a creative and intelligent human being is raised, and it's also the way she is outcast from the rest of the high school crowd she is supposed to be a part of. It's easy to say that I saw a bit of myself in her, and that's maybe a bit vain on my part, but it's also kind of great that the writer, Bert V. Royal, was able to create such a well-rounded and fully formed character in which I could see a version of my young self. I never wore lingerie with an embroidered scarlet letter to school, though, so there's that.

The story is also really clever. Tired of being seen as a loser, Stone lies to her best friend by saying she had a torrid weekend with a guy from the local community college. This leads to a continuing train of lies about having sex with all sorts of undesirables (gay guys, fat guys, gross guys) in exchange for gift cards. The web of deceit grows and grows in predictable and not-so-predictable ways, all while being exceedingly funny. This is the story of the fringes of high school society, those on the edge of popularity who tilt instead into notoriety. There are a few clever references (the aforementioned scarlet letter being only the most obvious) and the film never loses steam. The conflict with Stone's super-religious opposite, played nicely by Amanda Bynes, provides all the momentum the movie needs at just the right points. The ending is probably a bit predictable, but it's nice, so shut up. In the end, I can find no really glaring faults. It is a wonderful, well-made, and charismatic movie, led by it's star, about whom the same descriptors can be used.