The first thing that needs saying about Easy A is the following: I for one am not the kind who is off-put by listening to dialogue that is so witty and on point that it seems too good to be true. Unrealistically rapid, witty dialogue is part of what made Film Noir and many classic films work. Lip service need only be paid to reality when absolutely necessary to preserve suspension of disbelief. Especially when dealing in the comedy genre dialogue will be unrealistic in one way or another what matters is, is it good? The dialogue in Easy A is fantastic from beginning to end and is the best I’ve heard since Whatever Works, which is saying something because Woody Allen can talk circles around most.
Part of what makes this seemingly sitcom-style dialogue work is that this film is never, not even for a moment insincere, whether about the points its trying to make or its characters. The parents in this film played brilliantly by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci are oddball, California liberal stereotypes, however, even when consoling their daughter and actually playing parent they do not suddenly change persona but rather do their variation of this person being sincere which is still a little offbeat.
The bottom line is that this film is hysterical an that is what matters most when it comes to comedy. It may not quite be up to snuff with The Hangover, which would need to be re-viewed but now there have been two comparisons made to the two best comedies of 2009 so you get a sense of the quality of this particular film.
What helps to elevate this film is the performance turned in by Emma Stone. While Stone already has many credits to her name this is indeed a star-making turn and it’s little wonder that her name is already being bandied about for two very high profile roles now. Her performance in this film is nothing short of a revelation. Her delivery and reactions are always spot on and when she needs to get emotional, even in the context of this tale, you believe it.
While playing a high school tale which is essentially a self-conscious and modern day retelling of The Scarlet Letter the film still manages to avoid didacticism which is quite a feat. This is likely due in part to the influence of John Hughes which can be felt in this film not only in the dialogue but the usage of music throughout including blatant The Breakfast Club references.
There is through the jokes also a reverence for cinema particularly the classics there is also quite a bit of adherence to the comedic rule of three. One particular example comes to mind but it’s best kept a surprise. The film is also told in a frame of a webcast. While frames are a classical technique the webcast is a current/forward-thinking. Easy A, if you’ll excuse the cheesy critical pun, earns an Easy A as one of, if not the, funniest films of the year and one of the better most complete comedy experiences you’re likely to find in contemporary cinema combing intelligence, heart and laughs.