Monday, October 3, 2011

SRPS Movie Night - Easy A

So, it's the first real rainy day here in Northern California, and I spent my day inside, working in the kitchen, and watching movies that I've accumulated on my TiVo.

Today's movies included a comedy from 2010 starring the very talented and likeable Emma Stone, in a teen angst comedy: Easy A.

I added Easy A to my TiVo queue a couple of weeks ago, based pretty much on its cast and brief description, but didn't really have high hopes for it.

I have to admit, I wasn't let down.

Oh, don't get me wrong. It's a cute story. It attempts to pay homage to John Hughes' legacy, and even has a scene where Emma Stone's character explains how she'd like her life to be more like a John Hughes movie. It's very light-hearted, even while addressing the very real, very often tragic issues of teen bullying, and Emma Stone's character has a lot of kick-ass attitude.

And the cast! I adore Patricia Clarkson (I loved her in Pieces of April, which I hope to review soon)! Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, and even a scene with Fred Armistan -- all fine actors, who brought their immense talents to what could have been a gem of a film.

See, Emma Stone plays Olive Penderghast, a witty, attractive high school student who can't seem to get any attention from her male peers. To get out of an uncomfortable situation with her best friend, she makes up a lie about losing her virginity. The school's Christian do-gooder nosey stuck-up bitch happens to over-hear their conversation and then within an hour, the rumor spreads all over the school.

Suddenly, she's getting lots of male attention, but not the kind she was hoping for. And even more female attention, and certainly not the kind anyone wants. One of the do-gooder's friends makes a snide comment in English class (where they just so happen to be reading The Scarlet Letter, surprise!) and our snappy heroine calls her "an inappropriate word" and gets sent to the principal's office, where she gets detention.

In detention, she befriends the school gay kid, who has a terrible problem with being bullied. She suggests that he lie about being straight and that'll fix everything. (Yeah. Really.) To make it believable, he convinces her to slut it up with him at a party. They put on a good show, and suddenly she finds she's in hot demand of the school "losers" to help them improve their reputation.

Aside from the clever-ish dialog reminiscent of The Gilmore Girls or even My So-Called Life, it felt hollow, and a little sad. The one thing that kept taking me out of enjoying the movie was the thought that here we are, in 2010, and young women are still (STILL!) worried about their reputations and being shamed for having a sex life? I mean, I know this is a comedy, but there still had to be a way to update this sad old trope, right?

I have to admit that I'm 20+ years out of high school, but is this really still a thing? Are we still dragging around the old story that all boys are horn-dogs and all girls are bitches? And, really, do high schoolers really care who's still a virgin and who isn't? I don't know enough teenagers to know what it's like these days, but I have to hope it's better than when I was in high school.

How would a Self-Rescuing Princess handle this kind of situation? As an adult, I am old enough and brave enough to want to think that I'd never find myself in the situation of having to tell a lie to impress my friends, much less my non-friends. But, even if I did, of if I'd actually done what she lied about, I'd like to hope that I'd just own my behavior and tell the douche-bag guys and bitchy girls to take a flying leap. Wouldn't that be the SRPS thing to do? You know, do your own thing anyway?

I never felt completely upset at the movie, and I was engaged enough to want to keep watching to see how it all resolved itself, with an ever diminishing hope that the story would actually address the issues of slut-shaming and the double standard of sexual behavior as it applies to young men and women, bullying, etc. I even laughed several times, although I can't really remember what exactly I laughed at, now that I think about it.

All-in-all, it was a decent movie for peeling pears and working in the kitchen, but I can't really recommend it as a Self-Rescuing Princess Society movie.


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