Film & TV

"Easy A" Takes Easy Roads Through the Unfair Rules of Teen Sex

As far as teen comedies informed by tenth-grade English syllabi go, Easy A, partly inspired by The Scarlet Letter, is remedial ed compared with Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You. 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 in order to boost her popularity and to sex up her guy pals' reputations. But the film gives her no real adversaries to battle, except the consequences of her own myth — meaning Easy A can't make much of a point about sexual double standards. Amanda Bynes presides over the Jesus lovers and virginity pledgers of the Cross Your Heart Club, 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 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 teenaged girl's right to do with her body as she wishes; the 88 preceding minutes aren't much more relevant than, as one character snarks, "a gossip girl in a sweet valley of traveling pants."

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.