Hollywood is going gaga for Emma Stone at the moment, and on the strength of her performance in this hit American teen comedy, it’s easy to see why. Stone channels Molly Ringwald in her heyday, playing a gauche outsider teen desiring popularity at high school. Olive (Stone) tells a little white lie about losing her virginity to a college student, which escalates way out of control when she gains and cultivates a reputation as the college slut.
As many a glamour model will attest, there is money to be made in selling the promise of sex and Stone starts a business where she won’t contradict a statement that she’s been with a guy for the right price. What she doesn’t bargain for is the fall-out, in which both the Christian Society and her best pal Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) turn against her.
Scriptwriter Bert V Royal and director Will Gluck take a leaf out of John Hughes’ college book in ensuring that the teenagers are vulnerable but endearing, ambitious yet awkward, worried about becoming an adult and the need to make a mark on the world without knowing how to go about it. One of Hughes’ finest attributes was his ability to incorporate confused parents into the story, even when they are not seen on screen as with The Breakfast Club, and Gluck gets brilliant turns out of Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci playing the wisecracking, eccentric folks. Not since Mean Girls and Election have the trials of a teenage school girl provided such entertainment.
General release, from Fri 22 Oct.