It's been a while since we had a good teen comedy. Luckily, if I had to score this one, it gets an easy A (buh dum, psh). The story focuses on Olive (Emma Stone), a high school girl that just floats by unrecognized by the mass population. But when she tells her best friend, Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka), that she spent the weekend with a guy that doesn't exist, Rhiannon obviously jumps to the conclusion that Olive slept with him. Unfortunately, the school's super-Christian, Marianne (Amanda Bynes), overhears the conversation and begins the rumor mill, of course changing and growing the rumor with every new person that hears it. So it starts spreading around school that Olive is quite a slut. To perpetuate things, a gay friend named Brandon (Dan Byrd) pleads for help in that Olive pretends to sleep with him to show he's straight so he won't get beat up anymore. This, of course, begins a downhill spiral that just brings more and more guys to Olive for fake relations, and Olive's reputation simultaneously grows and sinks. Her parents (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci) are very liberal, laid-back parents who just kinda go with the flow, and she doesn't really go to them for help in the matter. Nor does she accept help from her favorite teacher, Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church), or his wife--the school counsilor (Lisa Kudrow). The films also stars Malcolm McDowell as the school principal, Fred Armisen as a pastor, and Cam Gigandet as Amanda Bynes' boyfriend.

This movie is like mixing 80s teen comedies with 10 Things I Hate About You: a comedy with smart writing and a supporting cast that owns the movie. It also helps that there are plenty of 80s teen comedy references and a story based on an older work of fiction. The movie really is very smartly written. Even when it brings in the cliches and conveniences to the plot, it knows what it's doing and it embraces it, pointing them out and laughing with you at them. And the dialogue is pitch perfect, only made better by the amazing ensemble cast.

Let's start with the supporting cast. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson not only own this movie, but they steal it and run away with it. They steal every scene they're in, and they are probably one of the funniest parts of the movie. Thomas Haden Church brings a very dry sense of humor to his character. He's kind of the opposite of Tucci and Clarkson only in the sense that, while they're very flamboyant and obvious with their humor, he pulls back and lets the writing behind the character shine. And maybe it's just because he was playing an English teacher, but I probably connected with his character the most. If the supporting characters falter anywhere, I'd say it's with Lisa Kudrow. She did fine with what she had, but the character isn't introduced until about halfway into the movie, and it almost expects you to immediately have a connection with her like she'd been there the whole time. Kudrow should have at least been introduced much earlier on.

Then we have our main roles, played by Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes. Emma is gorgeous and does wonderfully with her part. She's dorky, but sexy, which is kind of her shtick, I suppose. Though I have a hard time believing, much like any other teen comedy, that she's invisible to the mass population and hasn't really ever been asked out on a date. Amanda Bynes, too, plays the Christian Evangelist well. Though I'm afraid (and this has nothing to do with Bynes) that some people are gonna miss the point and be offended by her role in the film.

I also would like to bring up the soundtrack. It's a very pumpin' soundtrack--very fun. And the nods to the 80s, especially in the third act, was great. I'm probably not gonna go out and buy the soundtrack or anything, but I just felt like it was worth noting.

Overall, it's a great comedy where all the parts meet together magnificently to make the whole. Is the ending predictable? Yeah. But that's to be expected, really, from this genre. It's a smartly written film that knows its boundaries. It's a movie about sex without being too raunchy. The "teens" curse without it being excessive, but still believable. The jokes never overstay their welcome. Nothing is too offensive or over-the-top ridiculous (except maybe believing that these were all high school kids... though I loved the line about how the skirt hem was never shorter than fingertip length. They even researched basic dress code!). It's just a great, fun teen comedy that I think belongs in the ranks with other recent greats (such as 10 Things...). Is it perfect? No. But I loved it.

Royale With Cheese


  1. Quite enjoyed this one myself (so says the review I posted yesterday), and couldn't agree more that it's nice to see a teen comedy that doesn't insult and can provide a few witty moments.

    great post dude.

  2. Glad I wasn't the only one who has tried the bu dum psh with the Easy A gets an A joke. I thought I was going to get the roaring boos when I heard that (I did it on Facebook and I take it from the silent facepalm my friends did that I won't be putting it in my review)

    But it was a great movie, I found some more problems with it, mostly just my taste in movies, but I still thought it was a 5 star film in the vein of John Hughes or 10TIHAY (which fun fact was filmed near me at Stadium High School)

    That and Emma Stone is hot...just saying.


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