Easy A: Scarlet Letter-inspired teen comedy
Emma Stone as Olive in Easy A.
As far as teen comedies informed by tenth-grade English syllabuses go, Easy A, partly inspired by The Scarlet Letter, is remedial ed compared with Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You. To boost her popularity and to sex up her guy pals' — and strangers' — reputations, brainy Ojai, California high-schooler Olive (Emma Stone, confirming the talent shown in supporting roles in Superbad and The House Bunny) convinces her classmates that she spreads her legs often. But the film gives her no real adversaries to battle, except the consequences of her own mythomania — meaning Easy A can't make much of a point about sexual double standards. Seventeenth-century Boston Puritans find their analogue in the teenage Jesus lovers/virginity pledgers of the Cross Your Heart Club, presided over by Marianne (Amanda Bynes), but these are foes whom no one takes seriously. Olive's parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) are endlessly supportive. What this self-anointed Hester Prynne in Juicy Couture must battle the most is the script, written by first-timer Bert V. Royal. Filled with the occasional tart one-liner, Easy A tacks on a sound message about a teenage girl's right to do with her body as she wishes; the 88 preceding minutes aren't much more relevant than, as one character snarkily says, "a gossip girl in a sweet valley of traveling pants."
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