I’ll probably come away as pretty clueless but there were some things that struck me when watching the fledgling effort from Alicia Silverstone. Fans of the actress or the film will be pleased, but the age group the film was originally made for must be confused if they watched it today.
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is the daughter of a wealthy lawyer (Dan Hedaya) and the most popular and stylish girl at high school. She cruises the halls with her best friend Dionne (Stacey Dash) and the social strata of her classmates.
Being the daughter of a lawyer she considers her grades negotiable. She sets about to set up her teachers Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan) to get her bad grades in their classes reversed. The trick works and both lonely hearts hook up and actually start raising everyone’s grades. The result is that Cher starts thinking that doing good isn’t so bad and takes on new fish-out-of-water student Tai (Brittany Murphy) to give a makeover as a popular girl.
She sets up Tai to try and woo Elton (Jeremy Sisto) but she’s a better match with slacker skater Travis (Breckin Meyer, pulling his best Shaggy). Her good deed starts to turn on her when Tai starts to eclipse her on the social strata but Cher gets a reprieve when the handsome Christian (Justin Walker) sashays into class and she even starts rethinking her annoyance with her stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd).
I was well out of high school when Clueless appeared so I missed being the film’s audience and never caught up so this was my first time watching it. So I’m probably missing something since I really couldn’t connect with Cher’s selfish obsession with chic fashion and social standing. I know, I know, the whole point of the film is that she’s clueless and clues in to social issues as the film goes along. I just didn’t much care for those parts.
The young, fresh cast now plays middle aged and some have aged better than others. Some have also gone on to more watched careers than others as well. One has died and every time Murphy appears on screen it’s a bit sad to see her so young and full of life.
Much of the cultural references also brought amusement as some of them have faded away or changed their images. Marky Mark is Mark “serious actor” Wahlberg, Mel Gibson has gone from handsome king of Hollywood to a ranting maniac, not to mention the likes of Luke Perry, etc. Certainly those who lived through the decade and loved Clueless will be pleased with the fine transfer and special features (I think those come from a previous DVD release) but it left me a bit sad for times gone by.
Clueless is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features, in standard def unless noted, include a pop-up trivia game, the 18 minute “Class of ‘95” on the cast, the 9 minute “Creative Writing” about the film’s development, the 11 minute “Fashion 101” about the costumes, the 8 minute “Language Arts” about the slang (I’m Audi), the 3 minute “Suck and Blow Tutorial” about the game in the film not what you might be thinking, the 4 minute “Driver’s Ed” about filming that and the freeway scene, the 9 minute “We’re History” about the legacy of the film, and the teaser and theatrical trailers (totaling 4 minutes and the only things in high def).
Clueless clued the world into Alicia Silverstone and its young cast, most of which will be recognizable. It also serves as a mid-90s time capsule. That’s sure to confuse a younger generation playing catch-up, but will bring the sting of nostalgia to the youth that watched the movie when it was new.
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