Not the Sharpest Christian in the Bible

16 Sep

I’ll apologize in advance.

The new film Easy A marks the big-screen return of one of my favorites, Ms. Amanda Bynes. Here she plays Marianne, a devout Christian high school student who likes wearing short, short skirts and argyle sweaters.

Alright fine, and she is the antagonist of Olive (Emma Stone), who lies about her sexual activities and brands herself a modern-day Hester Prynne — minus the Demi Moore part.

(Full disclosure: the movie’s really about Olive, and how she goes from nobody to somebody based on those lies.)

Thankfully, Amanda is not just nice to look at in the movie, she’s also genuinely funny. So take that all you Chicky haters. (I’m hoping a few other positive reviews will convince Amanda to stay unretired from acting for a while longer.)

Actually, to get serious for a second, Easy A is a better than average teen-oriented film.

Featuring a notable cast that includes Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as perhaps the loosest, most freewheeling and modern parents I’ve seen on screen in a long time, as well as Thomas Hayden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Penn Badgley, and Malcolm McDowell, Aly Michalka, and Fred Armisen, the film’s often a smart, very self-aware, and enjoyable look at teenage sexual politics.

Much of the film is relatively unbelievable, and there’s no actual sex involved, but Easy A manages to avoid most of the cheese and cliches of other such films in the genre — and when it veers in that direction, it acknowledges that it’s doing so, or previews it before it happens.

By no means is this a film that will appeal to anyone over the age of 25 (ahem, myself included), but it’s not a cringe-worthy embarrassment to sit through, either.

Which brings us back to Ms. Bynes.

I doubt I’d have been interested in seeing Easy A were it not for her, and I’m glad she’s good in it, but I’m even happier that the movie is not the lame-o type of film I’m used to seeing her in (Hairspray excepted).

And that’s why I’m giving Easy A, no, not an “easy” A, but a “better than expected” B.

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