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Easy A

Movies

Issue: "Broken beyond repair?," Sept. 25, 2010

Easy A seems like a fun teen comedy to watch at girly sleepovers. An attempt to replicate John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink) films for the current generation, the film, while well made, is, in fact, a treatise on teen sexuality.

The film revisits Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, set in high school instead of a Puritan village. Olive (the charming Emma Stone) is an all-around good girl who feels invisible in the hallways of her high school. She perpetuates a false rumor that she slept with a college boy and finds she's suddenly notorious. Christian purity club members, led by the caustic Marianne (Amanda Bynes), see her as both a threat and a potential convert.

Drawn with all the nuance of Hawthorne's original portrayal of the Puritans-which is to say no nuance at all-the purity club is angry, judgmental, hypocritical, downright odd, and strangely influential at the school. In her new role as trollop, Olive makes friends with a gay boy. They team up and stage a false wild sexual encounter at a party. He is certified, for a while, as straight. She cements her reputation as a bad girl. To further enrage Marianne, she begins wearing a scarlet "A" on her trampy bustier.

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The multiple deceptions soon spiral out of control and the film ends up rejecting both chastity until marriage and wild promiscuity. Despite its PG-13 rating, the entire film is about sex and explicit in words although not in actions. Cleverly written, well-acted, and funny, Easy A will be sure to frequent DVD players at sleepovers for years to come. For these very reasons, it is a movie of which parents should be aware.

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