Nowhere, not even in the more improbable outreaches of the Hollywood High School multiverse, would someone looking like Emma Stone be ignored by the student populace and not get so much as asked out by any heterosexual male with at least two brain cells to rub together. And if there really exists a high school in California in the present day where a girl losing her virginity would be the biggest news on campus, then you might as well place your money on Schrodinger’s Cat blasting its way out of its box wearing a leather jacket and riding a Harley Davidson.
That said, ignore for a moment the fact that this and the many other contrivances that Easy A piles on top of one another are all completely implausible. Focus, instead, on how well each individual scene plays out. The dialogue has more wit than most high school comedies put together, the cast is top-notch and the key performance by Emma Stone is absolutely fantastic.
Easy A tells the story of a girl who lies to her best friend that she lost her virginity to a college student she met over the weekend (when in reality she just bummed around the house) and finds that the news has spread like wildfire all over the school. To add fuel to the fire, she then pretends to do it with a gay friend of hers so that he wouldn’t get bullied because of his orientation. Soon, she’s developed a little sideline in bestowing social misfits with a reputation. But while business is booming, she finds herself becoming lonelier and less comfortable with her choices.
While the plot itself keeps getting more and more implausible, we keep watching because of the wonderful actors involved. Emma Stone never steps wrong throughout the film, letting us see her sassiness and vulnerability and making us care. Stanlet Tucci and Patricia Clarkson play her parents, and steal every scene they are in. It goes a long way towards explaining why she doesn’t go completely nuts when she is ostracized by her peers. With parents like those, why bother with friends at all?
Underlying all of it are the references. The obvious one is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter which inspires her to emblazon a scarlet A on her dresses, but there are also assorted digs at a bunch of other books and movies (a sly dig at 10 Things I Hate About You is especially amusing). My favourites, however, are the references to the movie adaptation of Hawthorne’s novel starring Demi Moore. I never thought I’d say this, but Demi Moore in a bathtub doesn’t come close to being as watchable as Emma Stone bantering with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson.