By Marc S. Sanders
Yeah, Alicia Silverstone’s breakthrough film, Clueless, is shockingly dated, but it is so smartly constructed as it follows Jane Austen’s outline of her classic novel Emma.
You see, here is a movie where the main character goes through a nicely developed character arc. Silverstone’s Cher might be an airhead since her focus is primarily on clothes, the mall, MTV cartoons, and more clothes but as she strategizes to be a matchmaker for fellow students and teachers at her school, she loses sight of her own best interests when it comes to love.
The situations and one liners are priceless in Amy Heckerling’s film. I love how Cher can’t comprehend why her gorgeous crush never hits on her but he loves to shop, dress smart and watch Spartacus.
As director, Heckerling is also attuned enough to deliver gags by means of the extras sprinkled throughout the film. Almost every extra at school has a nose bandage because, you know, this is a Beverly Hills high school where plastic surgery is as common as getting a drivers license. Heckerling might be broadly spoofing the Beverly Hills scene of the ‘90s, but we all know what she’s trying to say with each shot of a high school hallway or classroom.
This film also delivered actor Paul Rudd closer to the main stream. It’s not a glamorous role but he’s cute nonetheless, as Cher’s step brother and maybe love interest???? It’s a long story; watch the movie. He’s the guy with sensibility that Cher doesn’t seem to account for. Rudd’s scenes with Silverstone are marvelous. Typical love/hate material that we’ve seen before, but the characters are so likable it’s hard to resist their charms.
Dan Hedaya (a very underrated actor since Cheers) is really good. He’s such far cry from his on screen daughter as an apparently brutal litigator. Every time he shouts “Cher, get in here!” I laughed.
Again, it’s hard to believe it’s already dated in its wardrobe and slang, but Clueless remains outstandingly funny nonetheless. Bitchin!!!!!!!!