Verdict: A refreshingly smart and adult friendly teen comedy
Emma Stone. Name doesn't ring a bell? It will soon; while her face may now look familiar from films like Superbad or Zombieland, the charming star of this smart, new high school satire will soon be hard to forget.
This is the high school flick we've been waiting for since Mean Girls. Add to that comparison Diablo Cody-style dialogue (Juno), and Easy A is a sassy, witty comedy adults and teenagers will both be comfortable going to see.
Using a literary source as inspiration isn't new in the high school genre: think Clueless and Jane Austen's Emma, 10 Things I Hate About You and Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. With Easy A, it's Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter that motivates Olive Penderghast's actions.
Olive (Stone) is studious, sensible, and in possession of a dry sense of humour. Even though most people at her small town school don't even know she exists, she is the kind of girl you'd like to be friends with.
At 22, Stone only just gets away with playing a 17-year-old, at times coming across as too mature for her gossipy classmates, but that's also why we like her, she's more switched on than anyone else and easy to root for.
That's a pun by the way. After a jokey conversation with her best friend about her weekend activities (including a little white lie about losing her virginity to an imaginary guy from Community College) Olive becomes hot gossip and her reputation goes from zilch to full-on slapper.
When it becomes apparent no one is willing to listen to the truth, she gives in to the rumour mill, slapping an A on her clothing just as the character Hester Prynne was forced to in The Scarlet Letter, and transforms herself into a Pussycat Doll-like vixen. She then goes about making a little cash on the side by allowing other misfits and losers to gain social credibility by pretending they made out with her.
None of her classmates can steal a scene from Stone, but her parents - played by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson - can. They are delightfully mad in a whimsical kind of way as they practice the "let's be friends with our kids" style of parenting. If only we could be remembered by our children as parents like this.
Easy A does let itself down with its annoying and stereotypical Christian students determined to save Olive, and the ending is cheesier than you'd expect, but for the most part its sharp dialogue and great cast make this a funny, cool little flick.
Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley
Director: Will Gluck
Running time: 93 mins
Rating: M (sexual references)