It happens by accident, but the misinformation that the virginal Olive (Emma Stone) spent a naughty weekend with an older man makes her a lot more popular at her high school. And because Olive is bright -- too clever by half, really -- she decides to maximize her newfound slutty reputation, by "renting" herself out to fellow social outcasts who could use a boost of sexy. For instance, the jocks stop bullying the gay guy when he and Olive fake a hook-up at a party. But, Olive dear, there are no easy solutions to high school misery (besides graduating), and rapidly, her great idea turns into a big mess.
But it's a big comic mess! Will Gluck's comedy is a notch or two above rote teen flicks: It riffs on The Scarlet Letter ("the original movie, not the Demi Moore one," explains Olive); and has plenty of good takeaway lines, even if nobody in real life -- especially some mixed-up teen -- would ever say such snappy things. (Its antecedents are Juno, Saved and Clueless.) Stone is a fresh find, with just a dash of quirky, and Gluck ropes in an indie movie's worth of adult actors to provide great support (Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Malcolm McDowell, Lisa Kudrow and Thomas Haden Church).
Sure, it's a bit of fantasia -- a high school full of beautiful people; delightful cool parents; and a cute guy who is as weirdly chaste as Olive, standing by to whisk her away into the sunset. But it has to be: The reality of a bad rep is no laughing matter.