Review Film - Wicked whispers - easy A

11th March 2011 at 00:00

Director: Will Gluck

Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes

Cert: 15

Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5

With mindless teen movies such as Twilight and High School Musical saturating the film industry, it feels good to come across Easy A.

Directed by Will Gluck, the film loosely follows the plot of the book The Scarlet Letter, adapting it to fit the modern day context of an American high school.

This is a format that has worked successfully in films such as Cruel Intentions. The cast seems like standard teen movie fare, too, including Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley and Twilight's Cam Gigandet. However, the first indication that the film might have something different to offer is the inclusion of Emma Stone, who plays the lead character Olive Penderghast.

The film tells the story of Olive, a student who lies to her best friend about losing her virginity. Unsurprisingly, this is soon common knowledge in her school. Olive embraces it and uses the school rumour mill to advance her social status.

Her reputation builds as she offers the school geeks the chance to claim they have slept with her, in return for shop gift vouchers. Olive begins dressing more provocatively, with a red "A" embroidered on her clothes (the film's most obvious connection to The Scarlet Letter). However, she faces mounting opposition from her peers at school, led by Amanda Bynes' character Marianne.

Despite a predictable and conventional plot, the film has fantastic moments involving Stone, her eccentric parents and the school's guidance counsellor, played by Friends actress Lisa Kudrow.

Easy A also makes multiple references to '80s teen films, such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club, as well as showing an awareness of a modern day audience, forming the story around a number of scenes where Olive talks directly to the camera in the form of a webcast.

The film is a more thoughtful alternative to the majority of teen films. The comedic talents of the cast bring it to life, and it gains respectability from its literary references.

The predictable plot prevents it from being as brilliant as teen comedies such as Mean Girls or Juno. And its ending is a bad copy of Say Anything and The Breakfast Club. It's not as brilliant as the '80s teen films it strives to be, but at least it is getting there.

Delphine Lievens, 18, Langley Park School for Girls, Beckenham, Kent

Rating: 3 OUT OF FIVE

While it is not unusual for high school films to predominantly focus on the fickle and cruel attributes of its teenage inhabitants, Easy A presents an especially ugly portrait of students, with the jocks, geeks and religious freaks all criticised in equal measure.

The victim of all this cruelty is "average" student Olive, who finds herself swept into a lie of viral proportions involving her having sex with a university student and soon becoming labelled as the school tramp, which she initially revels in.

The plot is meant to be a loose update of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, but as with 10 Things I Hate About You and She's The Man, the tone and characters owe more to 1980s high school movies than classic literature.

At times the film resembles the over-rated The Opposite of Sex in having its lead character provide a dry, often smug voice-over, forewarning its audience of all the cliches the film will adhere to and lazily referencing movies that were made before the character would have even been born.

This is not to say that the film is bad. Besides said voice-over, Emma Stone in the central role is quite likeable, especially when dealing with her bizarre parents, played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, in offbeat scenes that feel largely improvised and are much funnier and original than the much more functional high-school stereotypes that dominate the film.

A perfectly fine genre film, but the meta aspects are not very funny or clever and ultimately distract the film from achieving any emotional satisfaction.

Nils Go, Filmclub leader, Langley Park School for Girls, Beckenham, Kent

- Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister


Move over, darling

Director: Michael Gordon

Starring: Doris Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen

Cert: U

Out on DVD on March 21

Rating: 3 OUT OF 5

Believing his wife Ellen has been dead for five years, Nick Arden marries Bianca on the same day that Ellen returns. After the shock of finding out her husband has remarried, Ellen sets off for the couple's honeymoon with the intention of breaking them up.

Once at the hotel, Nick finds himself running from room to room after finding out Ellen is alive. Ellen tries to make him tell his second wife. However, her efforts go to waste as he cannot find the courage to tell Bianca.

Eventually the trio return home, Ellen disguised as a Swedish maid. After several days of secrecy Bianca finds out and asks for an annulment of her marriage, but all is not lost as she finds herself falling for her doctor. This leaves Ellen and Nick with the chance to reunite.

Ellen and Nick seem like a fun-loving pair, represented best by the car wash scene when Ellen forgets to close the windows and it's not just the car that gets a wash.

Doris Day does a good portrayal of a woman determined to keep her family together and Move Over, Darling has some very funny moments along the way.

Klaudia Lleshi, 17, Wanstead High School, east London


Director: Alexander MacKendrick

Starring: Jack Hawkins, Phyllis Calvert

Cert: PG

Out now on DVD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5

Mandy is an interesting film. I can't imagine being deaf and dumb. I would struggle to make friends and I would only be able to watch other kids play.

The film is shocking and sad, especially when Mandy screams at people because she can't hear them.

There is an emotional moment at the end, when a boy asks what her name is and she is able to answer him and say her name for the first time.

Chloe Finlay, 11, Ardstraw Primary School, Omagh, Northern Ireland.

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