Easy A

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" Maybe this screenplay could have used a little help from Sir Walter Scott, but then again, maybe not...

Emma Stone ("Zombieland") plays a clean-cut high school student who, in a moment of frustration tells a fib to a blabbermouth friend. The friend has invited her for a weekend with her eccentric family, and to get out of it, our heroine pretends she has a date with a college boy. By Monday, this evolves into an admission (also false), that she lost her virginity during this fictitious date. Naturally the story goes like wildfire and the next thing you know, she has a "reputation." Since she has been studiously ignored by her classmates in the past, she sorta likes it...

Her English class is studying Nathanial Hawthorne, so she sews a scarlet "A" on her clothes and starts dressing like a slut. Thomas Haden Church ("Smart People") is her English teacher who wisely understands she is pretending but doesn't know why, so he asks his wife, played by Lisa Kudrow ("Paper Man") to look into it. Even though she is a student counselor, it turns out that she isn't a very good choice. By the way, Church's character is one of the few that isn't a caricature of a stereotype.

Our heroine's humorously permissive parents are expertly played by Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones") and Patricia Clarkson ("The Station Agent"), while her brother is played by Bryce Clyde Jenkins ("My Homework Ate My Dog"). The high school principal is portrayed by Malcolm McDowell ("The Book of Eli") and our heroine's gay friend by Dan Byrd ("Norman").

The setup is good: handsome Penn Badgley (lots of TV) is our romantic lead and Amanda Bynes ("Hairspray") is the Bible-spouting villainess; BUT the camera work is too stylized; each (supposedly) comic scene is played to death; and it is hard for me to warm up to a plot which pivots around a case of chlamydia.

Any questions?