Fired Up director Will Gluck hands his Scarlet Letter high school update to Emma Stone and she delivers, making her hard sell pitch for promotion to the A-list look as easy as Sunday morning. Of course, it’s not like she’s in this one alone, because Gluck stacks the deck with a supporting cast of characters who at any moment could have swooped in and taken over things if Stone had proven to be superbad in the literal sense.
Her good girl pretending to be bad has the one thing every smart Juno-esque teen needs (but would never want to admit to having before an audience of their peers) – parents in Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson who are hip and understanding, which really means that they’re fantasies on par with unicorns, leprechauns and lucky rabbit’s feet.
Clarkson, in particular, is funny (balancing along the fine line between broad and literate sensibilities) and displays an extraordinary sex appeal that tends to get lost underneath her patrician bearing. She and Stone perfectly capture the sensual vibes passed between this mother and daughter.
But Easy A earns extra credit points because it refuses to ignore the potency of a little well-placed sincerity. Recall the amazing John Hughes teen comedies (starting with Sixteen Candles through Some Kind of Wonderful) and you’ll realize that’s not such an easy lesson. Grade: B-plus