Movie Review: Clueless (1995)

Title: Clueless
Release Date: July 19, 1995
Director: Amy Heckerling
Production Company: Paramount Pictures

Clueless was released just after I graduated from college so I wasn’t in the target audience for a high school comedy.  Nevertheless, I watched and enjoyed the movie.  Revisiting the movie 25 years later the inescapable 90s-ness of the movie dates it considerably.  But a lot of the humor and charm of the movie persists.

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless focuses on Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a wealthy and stylish girl from Beverly Hills. Over the course of the movie, Cher learns to put aside self-interest and work to help others. Silverstone’s performance and the script by director Amy Heckerling (who also created Fast Times at Ridgemont High) help make Cher a likable character despite her initial snobbery and carelessness.

Part of Cher’s good deed doing involves adopting the new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) and making her over to be one of the most popular girls in the school.  Murphy’s sweet naivete steals a lot of scenes, although I’ll never figure out what kind of accent she’s supposed to have.  Cher is also transformed by a relationship with her ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd), a socially conscious college student who has maintained a close relationship with Cher’s lawyer father. I obviously didn’t know who Rudd was in 1995 and was amazed to see him in this movie, not least because he still looks as youthful as he did 25 years ago.

The movie is sweet and silly, part parody of the lives of clueless rich teenagers, but never acerbic about it. It was definitely worth a 25th reunion rewatch.

Rating: ****