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Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Film Buff: A Study in Scarlet

Normally, I like to choose an older film for the Friday Film Buff, but there is a recent entry in the teen-comedy genre that I think deserves a special mention.

Easy A is "inspired by" Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, but that's really about as far as the association goes. More of a loving tribute to the teen comedies of the eighties than to classic literature, this film stands on its own with a witty script and fine comic performances. Warning: if you're one of those people who complains that high schoolers in movies don't talk like real high schoolers, then you may have a gripe with this film. But honestly, have you ever listened to a conversation between two real high school students? I have. Some of my brain cells still haven't recovered.
Emma Stone shines in the lead role of Olive, a young woman going unnoticed through high school who finds a way to get noticed and make a profit, but at no small cost to her identity. The supporting cast includes Alyson Michalka and Amanda Bynes as opposite ends of the moral teen spectrum, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, and Malcolm McDowell as members of the school faculty, and Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive's very cool (and very funny) parents, Dill and Rosemary. (Yes, there are a lot of inside jokes in this film. Pay attention.)
I enjoyed it, and, if you missed it in theatres, it's now available on DVD.

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