Review: Easy A DVD

Easy A DVD boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Will Gluck | CAST: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Aly Michalka, Dan Byrd, Penn Badgely, Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson
RELEASE DATE: 12/21/10 | PRICE: DVD $28.95, Blu-ray $34.95
BONUSES: commentary, gag reel, Emma Stone’s audition footage; Blu-ray adds three featurettes, pop-up trivia track, more
SPECS: PG-13 | 92 min. | Comedy | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS Master Audio 5.1 | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

In the comedy movie Easy A, a small white lie lands Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone, Paper Man), a previously under-the-radar high school junior, front-and-center on her school’s gossip radar, Olive decides to ride her newfound notoriety to social relevance and financial success. (Olive’s placing a letter “A” on her bosom a la The Scarlet Letter‘s Hester Prynn helps to accomplish this.)  Along the way, she learns that reputations, like relationships, are far easier to initiate than they are to manage.

Stone’s delightful break-out performance as Olive is far and away Easy A’s strongest asset. Smart, angst-y, funny, vulnerable and always just a bit sharper than everyone else in the room (including the grown-ups), Stone has snap and sweetness to spare.

Although this film never achieves the greatness of the best teen comedies of manners (see Clueless and Pretty in Pink for two movies that still dominate the category), it’s nonetheless buoyed by strong performances. Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island) and Stanley Tucci (Road to Perdition) bring a deft, comedic touch to the roles of Olive’s ditzy-yet-loving parents; Thomas Hayden Church (Don McKay) hits just the right balance between deadpan and compassion as Olive’s mentor/teacher; Lisa Kudrow demonstrates, as she did in HBO’s The Comeback, a genuine gift for portraying the shop-worn, brittle ambitions of middle age; and Amanda Bynes (She’s the Man), playing the high school prig you love to hate, gives her finest performance to date.

Although far from perfect, Easy A gets extra credit for showcasing the outsized talents of Stone and company and proves that some films end up scoring higher than the sum of their parts.

The DVD’s supplemental package includes footage from Emma Stone’s audition (a strong one, obviously) and a gag reel that reveals the cast and crew having a very fun time on the set.

 

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About Gwen

Gwen Cooper is a movie and TV lover and the author of Homer's Odyssey (no, not the one you're thinking of).