I spent the evening of my 44th birthday last week watching a teenage comedy.
I don’t know what that says about me. Perhaps it was my perpetual midlife crisis at work once again. But mostly it was a case of sticking to the least common denominator. It would be nice to have some company that very day and Easy A was a film that various family members could agree about.
In case you haven’t watched it, the story goes like this: Olive is an anonymous high school student, which changes one day after she falsely says to a friend that she’s lost her virginity after a weekend sex event. The rumor is soon spread all over the school, but instead of denying it, Olive reinforces the idea about her promiscuity by pretending that she’s had sex with a gay friend of hers, to help him out since he too is a victim for the gossip machinery. And this is only beginning. Olive helps out a number of other low ranked guys at the school, while at the same time pushing her reputation further and further down and she finds herself in conflict with not only a group of Christian extremists but more or less everyone else in school. Throughout this she’s got the support from her parents, who are as wise and wonderful as I remember the parents in Juno. Things spin faster and faster until… well. I won’t give away what happens eventually.
I think it was a nice pick because we all ended up liking the movie, for various reasons. I loved the shameless flirting with the 80’s movie “Can’t buy me love”, which never fails to charm me. By the time the guy and the girl rode off on a lawn mower I had to squee a little. My teenage daughter on the other hand couldn’t enjoy those references, but she seemed to think that Olive was pretty cool and like me she laughed quite a bit throughout the movie. She also confirmed that the picture the film gives about how rumors are spread in a school environment was accurate. “That’s how it works”, she said.
Shocking losing your virgin?
However, even if I’m basically a fan, there were a couple of things that bothered me a little.
One thing was the assumption that everything is built on, namely that losing your virginity should be such a shocking thing that it becomes a social stigma. It’s the kind of morality I would expect to see in Mad Men, but this is supposed to take place in the 21st century in California. Does it really look like that in high schools of today?
Another issue I had was Emma Stone. Her performance was excellent, she truly shined with her energy and humor and presence. But I had a hard time to accept that this gorgeous girl who looks like a photo model should be that unnoticed, socially awkward girl she’s supposed to be. She looks more like a candidate for the queen of the proms. As a matter of fact almost everyone does.
Admittedly it’s been a while since I went to the Swedish equivalence of high school, and perhaps things have changed. People are just more obsessed with their looks nowadays. But still, I can’t help wondering: doesn’t anyone wear glasses anymore, are spot’s unheard of, isn’t there anyone who is overweight or wear clothes that are out of fashion and don’t fit very well? Why do they all look as if they come from an advertisement?
I put the question to a film blogging friend of mine and he explained it to me:
“Well, it IS an American film. Americans don’t pay good money to see normal/ugly people on screen.”
I suppose he’s right.
But even if Easy A has a bit of the typical American lip gloss touch rather than the Scandinavian/British grayish make-up free style that I prefer, it’s still unusually smart and fun for being a high school comedy. If you’re looking for something to enjoy in company with your teenagers, maybe sparkling some interesting conversations afterwards, I can totally recommend it.
Easy A (Will Gluck, US, 2010) My rating: 4/5