If Lindsay Lohan never makes it back to leading-lady status, then we can all comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we have Emma Stone. In Easy A, a remorselessly cheeky sociological teen-raunch comedy that attempts to do for The Scarlet Letter what Clueless did for Emma, Stone has a speed and sparkle that may remind you of Lohan in her Mean Girls prime. She plays Olive, who tells a tall tale about her sexual exploits only to learn that on the digital gossip grapevine of the texting era she's instantly been branded the school trollop. When all attempts to deny it prove futile, she fights back by playing up the image, dressing in bad-girl corsets accessorized with a scarlet A. But her acting-out routine has a secret saintly side. She's really helping assorted guys like her closeted best friend, or a pudgy dork by pretending to sleep with them so they can add a little I-shagged-the-school-slut luster to their public images.
Easy A has some agreeable fast banter, but it's so self-consciously stylized that it wears you out. The movie has too many familiar elements, like Amanda Bynes as a puritanical/bitchy/Christian BFF. Yet Stone, who made her debut in Superbad, never loses her flashing-eyed sunny vivacity. Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci, as Olive's goofily empathic parents, are a tasty comedy team, and Lisa Kudrow, as a guidance counselor who is a trollop, is funny enough to make you wish that she'd land a movie role that does her skewed whimsicality full justice. B-