John Hughes would be proud: Easy A both subtly and obviously resembles his Brat Pack movies of the 1980s. Emma Stone, often remembered as the love interest of Jonah Hill in Superbad, plays the pretty but overlooked Olive Penderghast. Her life reads like the typical Hughes character: she is attractive but is too into her studies to be popular, though she secretly wishes she were noticed.
The story begins when Olive lies to her best friend, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), about having a date in order to get out of camping with Rhiannon’s California hippie parents. Once the weekend is over, Rhiannon abruptly jumps to the conclusion that Olive has lost her virginity. To make herself seem more interesting, Olive plays along and proceeds to elaborate on the lie in the women’s bathroom. To her dismay, the leader of the school’s Christian Club, Marianne (Amanda Bynes), overhears her. Marianne quickly spreads the rumor in stereotypical nice-girl-on-the-outside/mean-girl-on-the-inside fashion. Think Regina George but with a purity ring. With the addition of nice guy and perpetual love interest Todd (Penn Badgely), the movie completes its ’80s teen movie transformation.
The never-ending references to Brat Pack movies start to blur the line between cute comedy and bad joke. The gratuitous date-rape scene where Todd saves Olive from the douchebag jock, combined with the cliched sex scandal between female faculty member and male student, takes the plot from believable to exaggerated. The peppy soundtrack may be the only consistent winner, with songs like Dan Black’s “Symphonies.”
If you love the ’80s, Easy A will be enjoyable and refreshing. However, if you have seen Pretty in Pink too many times, you should wait until DUU brings Easy A to Griffith.