Director: Will Gluck
Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Cam Gigandet, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Aly Michalka, Stanley Tucci, Dan Byrd
In a weak moment, Olive Penderghast pretends that she lost her virginity. Before long, every kid in her high school knows it. With her reputation compromised, she proceeds with her ill-fated plan to give the gossipers something to feast on. Will Gluck’s teen comedy is not terribly funny but it is smarter than most films in this formula-bound genre. Bert V. Royal’s script was inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and he makes clever references to 1980s comedies like Say Anything, Can’t Buy Me Love and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Olive is a gutsy young woman, her love interest is bland and sweet, and her parents are understanding but annoyingly flippant. Everyone else in the story is a hysterical caricature of a human being. The tainted heroine’s fight against hypocrisy seems pretty pointless without credible opposition. Emma Stone gives a likeably energetic leading performance, though.