On the subject of Penn Badgley, long before he was playing a psycho, serial killing stalker, he was actually a pretty nice guy in “Easy A,” one of the greatest teen movies in recent history. Either you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Woodchuck Todd or you immediately need to see Badgley chomp down on some wood. This film also showcases the true charms of Emma Stone, who stars as spiraling teen Olive Penderghast.
Like many traumatic teen experiences, Olive’s story begins with one little white lie that grows so big, it nearly ruins her entire high school career. Because the teen gossip mill is insatiable, one small mistake catapults Olive into a firestorm that paints her as promiscuous. Inspired by her class’s study of “The Scarlet Letter,” Olive decides to lean into her new reputation with risqué clothes, a flashy red A, and lots of fuel for the gossip fire. Unsurprisingly, that does not have the desired effect of making her more popular.
The result is a top-tier performance from Stone, as a snappy smart, and self-assured teen who is still figuring things out. Plus, the rest of the ensemble more than holds their own: Lisa Kudrow is her hilarious principal; Amanda Bynes is a cheerily menacing antagonist; and the duo of Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are maybe the greatest tee comedy parents ever.