Written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Clueless stars Alicia Silverstone in a break-out performance as Cher, a beautiful and self-absorbed high school student who spends her days focused on assembling the ideal fashion ensemble, talking her way out of bad grades and searching for the perfect boyfriend. What Cher discovers is that popularity only gets you so far, looks can be deceiving and love is sometimes found where you least expect it. Whatever. Clueless features an outstanding ensemble cast including Paul Rudd (Role Models), Brittany Murphy (8 Mile), Stacey Dash (“Single Ladies”), Donald Faison (“Scrubs”), Jeremy Sisto (“Law & Order”) and Breckin Meyer (“Franklin & Bash”).
Clueless is the story of teenager Cher Horowitz, who believes her life resembles a Noxema commercial. She is privileged, spoiled and extremely superficial. Cher is best friends with Dionne (Stacey Dash) because she also knows what it is like to have people be jealous of her. Cher’s mother died of complications during routine liposuction and her portrait hangs in the hallway of Cher and her father’s (Dan Hedaya) Beverly Hills mansion. Cher’s ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd) still feels like he is a part of the family and the two semi-siblings tease each other often. Josh claims Cher’s only direction in life is towards the mall and he suggests sterilization when she wants to do something good for mankind. Cher fires back suggesting Josh try NYU where the girls aren’t particular.
Cher’s father is a litigator and when her grades are less than expected she convinces all but one teacher to change her grades. Her debate teacher Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) won’t budge and Cher devises a plan to play matchmaker with him and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). As the relationship blossoms between the two teachers everyone’s grades improves. Cher brings home a report card in which she argued her way from a C plus to an A minus and her father exclaims he “couldn’t be prouder than if they were based on real grades.”
Doing good deeds, even with selfish motives, makes Cher happy. When new girl Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy) transfers to the school with baggy clothes and bad hair, Cher and Dionne swoop in for a physical and personal makeover. Tai is immediately attracted to a local bad boy Travis (Breckin Meyer) but Cher decides that the uber-popular Elton (Jeremy Sisto) is a better match. Elton appears to be interested in Tai when he asks for a picture of her. Later it will be revealed he wanted the picture because Cher took it, not because of the subject and Elton will make an unwelcome pass at Cher.
Although Cher doesn’t usually date high school boys, new kid Christian (Justin Walker) catches her eye. She immediately starts trying to make him jealous sending herself flowers and candy. While he eventually does date her, Christian turns out to be a “disco dancing, Oscar Wilde reading, Streisand ticket holding friend of Dorothy” aka gay. After Cher’s crush turns out to be gay, she fails her driver’s test and is unable to argue her way out of it. In the end, Cher realizes that she has fallen in love with her brother Josh and she begins to rethink her clueless ways.
Clueless is one of those movies that you will likely either love or hate. On the surface, almost everything about it should irritate me. Clueless is one of the reasons people used phrases like “whatever” – do they still do that? I’m not a fan of director Amy Heckerling, and I don’t really like Alicia Silverstone, but for some reason I love Clueless. Perhaps it’s because of the witty script, or maybe it is because of the brilliant cast that would later go on to bigger things, but this movie definitely has a lot going for it. There’s very few movies that capture teens in all of their complicated glory where they can make up the rules in their insular world complete with their own language along with their complete self-absorption. Heckerling and Silverstone do a great job balancing Cher’s shallowness with her underlying sweetness which keeps the movie from going overboard in any one direction. I’m happy to say that I love this just as much as I did years ago when I first saw it as it remains timeless.
Clueless is presented on Blu ray in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Flesh tones are even and accurate and detail is sufficient to be able to see the pores on the actor’s faces. Black levels are nice and inky and the contrast is excellent. The colors (of which there are many on display) are vivid and Clueless looks great for a movie shot in 1995.
Clueless is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD master audio with optional 2.0 Dolby Digital in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Clueless offers a rich soundtrack and clear consistent dialogue levels. Many small details were about to be heard and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones sound great playing “live” at a party in the film.
The Clueless Blu ray contains an impressive list of special features and a lot of behind the scenes footage including the following:
- Clue or False Trivia Game – A pop up trivia game that plays during the movie.
- The Class of ’95 – A behind the scenes look at the Clueless cast.
- Creative Writing – Director Amy Heckerling discusses the script and the process of getting the movie made.
- Fashion 101 – The director and cast discuss the look and style of the film.
- Language Arts – A look at the Valley Girl slang used throughout the film.
- Suck ‘N Blow A tutorial – How to play “suck n’ blow” as done at the Valley party in the movie.
- Driver’s Ed – A look at the driving scenes in the movie.
- We’re History – Cast and Crew discuss the film.
- Trailers – The original teaser and theatrical trailers.
Clueless was just as enjoyable, if not more so, than I remembered. I would never have guessed that a silly comedy like this would be one of my favorites. This is the type of movie that I always stop on when it comes on television and watch from any starting point. It’s light-hearted, requires no thinking whatsoever. Director Amy Heckerling talks about it being loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, and I would say it’s extremely loosely based. Clueless is a fun and entertaining experience!
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