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Good girl goes (kind of) bad in 'Easy A'

By Lisa DiCarlucci, Entertainment Editor

Several decades of pop culture provide a surfeit of examples of quiet young ladies earning the attention (both negative and positive) of her high school classmates. Olivia Newton John bags the class bad boy in "Grease," while Lindsay Lohan climbs the social ladder by way of sabotaging the queen bee in "Mean Girls." Then there is Emma Stone, who, in "Easy A," has fake sex for gift cards and falls in love with the school mascot. Whatever works, I suppose.

And for Stone, it does work. She is by far the most lovable video-blogging, fake slut you will ever meet and her sharp wit and all-American looks make her bizarre behavior forgivable and hilarious. Not to mention that she has a heart of gold.

The whirlwind begins when Olive's (Emma Stone) friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) asks her to have a fake romp with him so that their classmates will stop harassing him about being gay. Byrd's monologue about his plight as a gay student is especially heart-wrenching. Olive agrees and the word gets around to a few other boys at school that Olive has done this favor for Brandon. Suddenly, Olive is having fake hook-ups with the lonely, dorky and overweight members of her class in exchange for gift cards to unfortunate places like Auto Zone and Home Depot. It becomes clear quickly that Olive drew the short straw in this deal because while the boys get an ego boost, she gets the stigma of being a skank.

The most cruel remarks about Olive come from the school's small but enthusiastic Christian club, led by Amanda Bynes whose character would have been more believable if her skirt wasn't so short. Eventually their taunting turns into full on revolt and a full on campaign to have Olive removed from the school. Stone's character is incredibly likeable as she confronts the criticism head-on, not only by laughing it off, but owning it and embroidering  a red "A" on her clothing (based on "The Scarlett Letter" which Olive just happens to be reading in English class).

But when things get to be more than Olive can handle, her parents offer unending support and performances that steal the show. Her mom (Patricia Clarkson) and dad (Stanley Tucci) are quirky, smart and loving in the coolest way, making you wish they were your own parents throughout the entire film. Their chemistry with their adoptive son is flawless and hilarious while their open and sometimes racy rapport with Olive is charming and refreshing, though it may make you blush at times.

"Easy A" provided the first teenage, high school, comedy to be genuinely funny in an incredibly smart way. Olive, though questionable at times, is finally a character for young girls to look up to, if not exactly for her actions, for her helping heart and snarky sense of self. She knows to laugh at the gossip and social standards of high school and that alone is a reason to see this film.

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