Easy A is not Juno, but rather Juno-lite. And that's not at all a bad thing. Even though the story veers into the ridiculous - Olive (Emma Stone) pretends to have lost her virginity, and then helps guys pretend to lose theirs (eventually for money) - the film never loses its heart or its wicked intelligence. This isn't for the American Pie crowd looking for boobs and beer. Playing off both Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and John Hughes movies, the film rewards those with a knowledge of these things (I instantly recalled my 11th grade English class, in which we not only read The Scarlet Letter but compared the original movie to the "loosely adapted" Demi Moore version).
Three things help Easy A succeed as a film. The first is the smart script from newcomer Bert V. Royal, which plays with the cliches of teen comedies without completely succumbing to them. If Royal can keep this sort of thing up, he's got a bright future ahead of him. The second is the incredible supporting cast: Amanda Bynes and Aly Michalka as Olive's frenemies, Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as her parents, Thomas Haden Church as her favorite teacher, Lisa Kudrow as her guidance counselor, and Penn Badgley as her crush. They're all fearlessly funny, especially Clarkson and Tucci, who have such great rapport and chemistry that I would love for them to adopt me. They're both such fantastic supporting players and should, honestly, be in every movie.
The third is the strength of Emma Stone's breakthrough performance. She stole scenes in Superbad and did well in Zombieland, so it was only a matter of time before she got to carry a movie on her own. And carry it she does. Her Olive is whip-smart and charming, and Stone gives every twist and turn her character endures all she's got. She's funny, heartbreaking, and impossible not to root for. She tosses off one-liners with incredible ease, and uses that sense of humor as her shield when things start to get out of hand. The film is structured to live or die by her performance, and thanks to her it not only lives but thrives. The only part of her fantastic performance that isn't believable is that a girl that looks like her is completely anonymous in high school. Puh-lease.
Easy A is an excellent film to start the fall, as school resumes and the hot summer days begin to fade. Its the kind of comedy that should be made far more often.