My friends strike again and to be completely honest, I am surprised it hasn’t happened more often. So yesterday I was sitting at my friends’ house watching men and women inflict some scripted violence upon each other (in other words, I was watching WWE Summerslam). While watching the PPV, I was talking with Emily and Mark and during some of the various topics of conversation, we got on the subject of Amazon when Emily suddenly exclaimed that she had a gift for me. When Mark started shaking his head, I knew what was coming and sure enough, I found myself in possession of a new movie. Funny thing is, unlike the last movie that I was bought (Center Stage), this is a movie that actually enjoyed watching so I had no problem accepting today’s movie, Clueless.
The plot: Cher is a socially popular high-school girl that lives with her father, a high priced litigator, in Beverly Hills. She picks up her friend Dionne and the head to their school, where Dionne ends up arguing with her boyfriend Murray. In her first period class, Cher is given her report card that shows she is getting a C in the class, upsetting her because she knows that her dad will freak out about the grade. When she returns home, she encounters her step-brother Josh and the two start arguing about how each other lives their life. When they sit down to dinner with their dad, he questions Josh about his decision to try environmental law, then asks Cher for her report card but Cher says it isn’t ready yet because she is trying to talk to her teachers about her grades. She manages to convince some of her teachers to give her higher grades but is unable to get her debate teacher, Mr. Hall to change his mind. During a shopping trip to try and ease her mind, Cher decides to try and find someone for Mr. Hall to date and decides to try and hook him up with another of her teachers, Miss. Geist. Back at home, Cher’s father finds out about a ticket she received and tells her she can no longer drive without a licensed driver in the car with her. Cher convinces Josh to go with her and as they are driving, Cher mentions her getting her teachers together and Josh calls her selfish because it serves her own interests. Cher’s. Josh’s comments seem to bother Cher but she goes through with her plan and Mr. Hall and Miss. Geist hit it off and Cher gets her grade changes from a C to an A, which amazes her dad. Deciding she want to try and do more good deeds, Cher and Dionne befriend Tai, a new student at school, and start they working on making her more popular. They also try to curb Tai’s interest in Travis, a skateboarding stoner boy that goes to their school. Cher tries to hook Tai up with Elton, who is in one of the popular groups at school, and takes some group pictures with Elton and Tai next to each other. Later that evening, Dionne tells Cher that Elton had one of the pictures that Cher took of Tai in his locker and so Cher and Tai go with Dionne and Murray to a party that Elton is at. Tai runs into Travis, who tries to impress Tai but ends up ruining Cher’s shoes. When Tai gets hit in the head, Cher succeeds in getting Elton to help her with him and after making sure she is ok, Elton and Tai start dancing. Leaving the party, Elton ends up giving Cher a ride home instead of Tai and tries to hook up with Cher but she rebuffs his advances and gets out of the car and he drives off. Cher tries to call a cab and ends up getting mugged and Cher ends up calling Josh to pick her up. The next day, Cher and Dionne tell Tai about Elton and they try to cheer her up after school and Tai learns that Cher is still a virgin. When a new boy named Christian shows up at school, Cher gets a crush on him and starts trying to get his attention and they decide to go to a party together. When Christian goes to pick up Cher, Josh gets jealous and decides to go to the party to keep an eye on them and ends up dancing with Tai during the party. When the party ends, Christian goes to an after party and Josh takes Tai and Cher home, with them stopping to get takeout for their father and his legal team, who are working on a major deposition. Christian calls Cher to watch some movies and Cher does her best to try and seduce him but he ignores her attempts and makes an excuse to leave. Cher is complaining to Dionne and Murray about it and Murray reveals that Christian is gay, which bums Cher out but she still enjoys hanging with him as he becomes her best shopping friend. One day, Christian and Cher are shopping and Christian ends up saving Tai from some men that are harassing her. The next day, everyone at school is talking about Tai’s incident and Cher finds her self being somewhat ostracized by Tai and some of the other kids. Cher is getting ready for her driving test but ends up having a bad day and all during the test, she is thinking back to some comments that Josh said. When she fails her driving test, she returns home to find Tai and Josh hanging out and Tai asks Cher for her help in getting rid of some stuff that reminds her of Elton because she is interested in Josh. Cher tries to talk Tai out of dating Josh and Tai ends up arguing with Cher about it. Cher goes for a walk and realizes that she is in love with Josh but doesn’t know how to act around him. Deciding to make a change in her life, Cher volunteers to head up a relief effort for Pismo Beach, which both Josh and her father notice. As they are collecting supplies, Travis approaches Cher to apologize for ruining her shoes as part of his twelve step program and invites her to an amateur skateboard competition that he is in. At the competition, Cher runs into Tai and the two apologize for their fight and Cher sees how Tai and Travis are towards each other and realize that Tai has lost interest in Josh. That night, Cher is helping Josh and one of her dad’s assistants with some files for the deposition when Cher accidentally misfiles some papers and the assistant yells at her and then leaves. Josh goes to comfort Cher and they end up admitting their feelings for each other and kissing. Some time later, Cher is a bridesmaid for Mr. Hall and Miss. Geist’s wedding and when Josh tells her that there is a pool going on who will catch the bouquet, Cher ends up catching it and winning the $200 and then embraces and kisses Josh.
Clueless met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that it is, “a funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.” Building up to the movie, Alicia Silverstone would appear in several commercials for MTV as her Cher character going through her own experiences with the various music trends in the past decade. The movie was a surprise cult hit in the theaters, earning over $56 million off of a $12 million budget. Due to it’s popularity, a spin-off TV series was produced in 1996 to show the continuing adventures of Cher and her friends, getting several members of the cast to reprise their roles, but Cher, Josh, Tai, and Mel (Cher’s father) being recast.
I think this is one of those quintessential teenage movies from the 90’s that is a must see for any teenager from that decade. The acting was really good among all of the main characters. Alicia Silverstone (Cher) and Stacey Dash (Dionne) were great at playing the “typical” high school girls that are interested in shopping and popularity over anything else while Brittany Murphy (Tai) showed an interesting character development going from a “stoner” girl into a clone of Cher before finally becoming her own person. Paul Rudd (Josh), Donald Faison (Murray), and Breckin Meyer (Travis) did a good job in their roles, with Paul Rudd doing a good job interacting with Alicia Silverstone as they go from step-siblings that can barely tolerate each other to falling in love. The story was pretty interesting, being a modernized version of Jane Austen’s “Emma”, and it did do a really good job with showing Cher growing up and maturing as a person. I know that a lot of it was the stereotypical teenage girl dialogue but there was a lot of humor to be found in the movie and there were several lines that had me laughing when I first saw it and still had me laughing today. Although personally, I liked the soundtrack the best as there were a lot of good songs in the movie, not to mention The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones making an appearance in it, and it was a CD that I could easily listen to without skipping a track. A great movie to just put on and enjoy without having to over think anything.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5