The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Director’s film would need to work harder to receive ‘Easy A’

“Easy A,” the latest high school flick starring Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes begins with promise, but never adequately develops any of the many plots thrown at the audience.

The film is presented as a comedy about two high school misfits who team up to take on the establishment – but this film isn’t the classically witty high school comedy it is made out to be.

It would seem at the beginning to be a commentary on high school life, a la “Mean Girls”, but this film lacks the biting wit and complexity of characters to pull that off.

If you could gather up a band of unfortunate misfits fresh out of every state fair nationwide, you would have the characters in this film.

Set in a redneck California town that for simplicity’s sake we’ll call “Not San Francisco,” this film quickly develops into a 93-minute white trash freak show and every small town bumpkin comes along for the ride: the ‘Jesus-freaks,’ the town gay, the smug misunderstood hipster girl, the hot boy next-door, the burn-outs, etc.

Instead, what director Will Gluck has given us is a film about a stuck-up small town girl who is so bored that she begins to create rumors about herself for money.

“Easy A” is just about as asinine as it sounds. A gay guy and his female friend pretend to sleep together. He pays for the favor, which allows him to fit in with the straight, macho crowd.

Although he is entirely too flamboyant to realistically pull it off, the school believes the lie and suddenly he is the talk of the school… well, for about five minutes and then he disappears.

The school’s students are clearly morally bankrupt but surely not blind and neither is the audience who is suddenly left wondering, ‘Where did he go?’

The film is funny, but the laughable qualities were unintentional creations and the characters were actually meant to be taken somewhat seriously. So, the writers don’t deserve much credit for the humor.

Given the story, the cast does pretty well. Amanda Bynes, however, quite adequately plays out her new life on the Hollywood D-List. In other words, she was awful.

Emma Stone’s character, Olive, has a desperate air about her throughout the film, a kind of Katy Perry type, an otherwise conservative and boring girl who just wants to shake things up a little.

She may not have actually kissed a girl and liked it, but for the sake of her reputation perception is reality.

But it is not long however before every sleaze in school starts offering up Home Depot gift cards in exchange for a virtual one night stand, or in one case, a trip around virtual second base.

To make matters worse, Amanda Bynes’ band of “Jesus-freaks” follows Olive around the school protesting her promiscuity.

To respond, Olive attaches a red ‘A’ to her clothes, as her life suddenly begins to mimic that of Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter,” which they are studying in English class – of course.

As if butchering one traditional American work was not enough, Olive’s gay friend finally reappears at the end of the film in a nasty parallel to Huck Finn.   

I’d like to think the writers of this film were as sarcastic as the sassy Hester Prynne they wrote; that is the only way to justify a film that seems to encourage adultery, prostitution, homophobia and eating at Red Lobster.

So if you’re looking for an mildly entertaining film with loose morals and a very small heart, “Easy A” might be the film for you.

Or maybe you can hold onto your dignity for something better.

 

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