As far as teen comedies informed by 10th-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. To boost her popularity and sex up her guy pal's—and strangers'—reputations, brainy Ojai, Calif., 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 Amanda Bynes, but these are foes who 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. Sprinkled 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 snarks, "a gossip girl in a sweet valley of traveling pants."
Stone shows talent the movie doesn't quite fulfill.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Sept. 17. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes.