Amanda Bynes after ‘Easy A’: To retire or not to retire?

Sep 18 2010 04:17 PM ET

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by Whitney Pastorek
Categories: Movies, PopWatch Career Counseling

Amanda-Bynes-EasyAImage Credit: Adam TaylorDespite having a certain susceptibility to teen movies — not that there’s anything wrong with a grown woman being able to quote most of Bring It On — I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed this weekend’s Easy A. Emma Stone kills it as Olive, a high school student who traps herself in an extremely slutty lie, and as her potential romantic interest, Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgley evokes the above-it-all cool of, well, Jesse Bradford in Bring It On. (Yes, I am aware that other movies exist.) Hooray, also, for Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as the weirdest, warmest movie parents in a long while. I walked out of the theater feeling like maybe, just maybe, the kidz are gonna be all right.

But we are gathered here today to discuss the strange case of Amanda Bynes, as Easy A marks her first major film appearance since Hairspray in 2007. (I’m not counting Sydney White, since apparently no one did at the time.) Playing a tightly-wound evangelical Christian goody-two-shoes on a rampage against Olive’s alleged behavior, she isn’t given much to do but shoot Jesus lasers from her eyes and blast aggravated steam from her ears, but she slapped on a prissy headband and went for it anyway. Bynes has always exhibited less vanity than her fellow teen stars, a willingness to go for the punchline (even if she’s the punchline) that evades lesser comediennes. So I gotta ask: Amanda, what is up with all this retirement hoo-hah?

It was back in June when Bynes took to her Twitter to announce she’d retired from acting because she no longer loved it. It was one month after that when Bynes tweeted that she’d unretired. And about a week ago, Bynes deleted her Twitter feed entirely. I’m trying not to read too much into that — maybe she and John Mayer (who also pulled his tweeterplug) had some sort of secret pact — but I hope it doesn’t mean that she’s un-un-retired. I think that would be a shame.

Especially in this weekend of Yet Another Disappointing Headline Concerning Lindsay Lohan, I find myself respecting the way Bynes has conducted her transition from child star to young adult: no scandals, no arrests, no embarrassing boyfriend drama, just the one Maxim cover (on which she’s practically swaddled in fabric) and a very select smattering of well-played parts. I’m fairly certain she still lives with her parents, which I find adorable. And while it is her right to decide what to do with her own future — especially after nearly two decades of the Hollywood grind life on screen [better, readers? – WP] — I wish she wouldn’t give up on making people laugh. We’ve got waaaaay too many generic ingenues around here already.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Should Amanda Bynes go ahead and retire, or would you prefer that she stick around? If you could fantasy-manage her career, what advice would you give her? And did you see Easy A? OMG did you love it?

Read more:
EW’s ‘Easy A’ review

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