Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Alyson Michalka, Lisa Kudrow
Random Guy: Hey Olive, how’s it going?
Olive: I’m swell…guy I’ve never talked to before. Thanks for asking.
Olive (Stone) makes up a story about losing her virginity in order to shut up a friend who’s asking about it, not realizing that somebody else was listening to their conversation. When this rumor spreads like wildfire, Olive embraces her new image as school tramp and even finds a way to make some money out of it. Of course, things start to go too far, get out of control, etc, etc.
Okay, I have several problems with this movie. Some are minor, nit-picky things, and others are larger, more important issues.
I’ll start with a couple nit-picky things. First, if Olive is so invisible (which I find hard to believe in the first place) at school (as she states in the opening voice over), how is it that this rumor about her spreads so quickly to everyone? I know if a similar thing had happened to me in school, most people’s reaction would be “who is this person, and why do I give a crap about their sex life??” Yet, we see this rumor spreading around to people like they just found out Justin Bieber(yeah, I went there) is going to start attending their school. It’s a California high school, nobody would care. Maybe if it was middle school, then it would be more understandable, but…well…that would be a whole different kind of movie.
Second nit-picky thing: eighth grade Olive looks nothing like high school Olive. How hard is it to find an actress that at least looks somewhat like Emma Stone? Nobody shapeshifts that much between eighth grade and high school.
Now on to the bigger issues. Why is it that the adult characters are so much more interesting than the high school kids. Only Olive has any sort of intelligent dialogue written for her. Everybody else is just a stereotype. The dumb jocks, the ditzy blond, the nutty Christian kids, the put-upon gay character, and on and on. Nothing nuanced here.
As I mentioned, though, the adult characters, specifically Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as Olive’s parents, shine much brighter than anything else in this movie. Every time they were on screen, my interest picked up. I could have watched an entire movie about them and it would have been much much better than this one.
The other big issue: I just didn’t find it that funny.
I like Emma Stone, and I think she can definitely carry a movie, but she deserves better than this. There are a few funny moments outside of the scenes with the parents, but for the most part it’s just another shallow teen comedy going for easy laughs via cliches and low-brow humor (gee, a scene where two people go into a room and loudly pretend to have sex in order to trick people…how novel).
Check that all the stalls are empty before you start confessing things (whether true or not) in the bathroom.
10 – 2 for so many poorly written characters – 1 for too many unbelievable plot aspects – 1.5 because it’s just not that funny + .2 for Tucci and Clarkson = 5.7