When's the last time you saw a really, REALLY good teen movie? American Pie? Clueless? Heathers? Mean Girls? Yeah, it's been a while, hasn't it – apart from the wonderful Tina Fey-scripted Mean Girls, it's tough to think of a decent teen film from the past decade. Well fear not, because here comes Easy A to redress the balance and restore your faith in this much-neglected genre.
Olive (Stone) is a fairly typical, easygoing high school student, pretty much living life under the radar. Nobody takes much notice of her, until one day she decides to change that with a little white lie. After spending the weekend at home, alone, while her parents are out of town, Olive tells best friend Rhiannon (Michalka) that she lost her virginity to a college dude. They're overheard by the prim and proper Jesus freak Marianne (Bynes), so pretty soon the story is all over school, and the once invisible Olive has a reputation and a half. The pious celebates, led by Marianne, are baying for Olive's blood, while the boys just want to bed her. Olive, meanwhile, does nothing to clear up the false rumours and cheerfully basks in all the attention, until things start to get out of hand.
As teen comedies – or even, for that matter, comedies in general – go, Easy A is a smart, funny and very zippy breath of fresh air. Much of that is down to Bert Royal's clever script, which nicely plays with the teen comedy conventions while also paying homage to the terrific John Hughes teen films of the 80s (even referencing several of them). The rest is down to a class-A cast. Bynes is as wonderfully watchable as always, as are Kudrow, Church, McDowell, Clarkson and Tucci (my one complaint is that the film doesn't have enough Tucci for my liking). But the standout star is Stone, who you may recall from her small but memorable roles in such films as Superbad, The House Bunny and Zombieland. She brings all her charm and talents to the table to play this warm, funny, likeable and yes, very intelligent girl. And if she keeps turing in perfomances like this, she's got a bright future ahead of her.