‘Easy A’ offers fresh laughs in stale genre

Leia Ostermann

After a summer of dim and dreary comedies, it is refreshing to watch a movie that doesn’t quite fit in. “Easy A,” flavored by the sagacious and sarcastic Emma Stone, takes the classic story of “The Scarlet Letter” and shapes it into an observant high school comedy.

Stone’s quick wit, pop-culture references and exasperated empathy takes this film away from the realm of other high school romances like “Clueless” or “Mean Girls” and puts this movie, and Stone, into a whole new level of charismatic humor.

Stone plays the nobody, Olive Pederghast, who pretends to lose her virginity in order to protect the reputation of her homosexual friend (Dan Byrd). In doing this, Olive is branded as the school slut and ends up emblazoning a red “A” on all of her clothes, in character with the puritanically ostracized victim in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, “The Scarlet Letter.”

By feeding this reputation, Stone makes enemies of the religious club’s self-righteous leader, played by Amanda Bynes. In turn she also earns gift cards or coupons as payment for helping nerds win a reputation with the ladies, or lady in this case. Only after Olive’s reputation has begun to eat into her own love life and friendships does she begin to question how far the act should continue. The movie, narrated by Olive, is her account of the story and the truth about her virginity.

“Easy A,” directed by new director Will Gluck, is more focused on plot and content than the classic gags of the comedy world. Olive drops references to Mark Twain, Judy Blume, Sylvia Plath and John Hughes, not trying to be smart in a pretentious way, but because a smart girl cannot help it.

The rest of the cast is made up of classic caricatures, the fire-and-brimstone religious nut, the manly and athletic love interest, the gay friend, the awkward-but-lovable family and the back-stabbing-ex-best-friend.

Without much surprise in the beginning, middle or end of the movie, it still manages to deliver entertainment and a surprisingly brainy sense of humor.

It is nice to go see a romantic comedy and walk away without feeling dumb or love-sick. Cheap tricks have stopped working on my funny bone, so the intelligent humor was refreshing. Stone’s clever character, not to mention her gawky smile and charm, never fails to generate a laugh, probably shooting the young actress towards stardom.

Stone is truly a talent; from the singing, to the sassy walks, to the suspicious grins, she always gives us something to watch.

In plot, humor or love, “Easy A’ does not fail on any account, even if romantic and witty comedies are not your cup of tea, at least go for the music. The soundtrack included some of my favorites; One Republic, Death Cab for Cutie, Cary Brothers and Natasha Bedingfield.

Besides this, the throwback to many 1980s classic romantic comedies and the random musical number we remember from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” gives this movie a broader audience. Like Olive, we all just want to look for John Cusack holding up a boom-box under our window.

Leia Ostermann can be reached at [email protected]