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LIKE, TOTALLY Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash in Clueless
Elliott Marks


Current Status:
In Season
Wide Release Date:
Brittany Murphy, Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Elisa Donovan, Donald Faison, Dan Hedaya, Breckin Meyer, Paul Rudd, Wallace Shawn, Jeremy Sisto
Amy Heckerling
Paramount Pictures
Amy Heckerling

We gave it a B+

There’s no better feeling than sitting down to watch a movie you haven’t seen in more than 15 years and having it still feel magically alive. Amazingly, despite its calcified Clinton-era references to Luke Perry’s sideburned dreaminess and the archaic beeping sounds of pagers going off, I’m happy to report that Clueless (1995, PG-13, 1 hr., 37 mins.) hasn’t aged a day. It is, was, and ever shall be…adorable. Now on Blu-ray, Amy Heckerling’s SoCal riff on Jane Austen’s Emma gave us one of the most indelible characters in recent movie memory — Alicia Silverstone’s ditzy, glitzy high school matchmaker extraordinaire, Cher Horowitz. Cher may seem to have it all (the drooling admiration of male classmates like Jeremy Sisto’s Elton, a brand-new Jeep even though she doesn’t have her license yet, and a designer wardrobe bankrolled by her lovably grumpy dad, played by Dan Hedaya), but deep down there’s something missing. Something that not even a trip to the Galleria can fix. Cher is a savant when it comes to figuring out what other people need. When she can’t get her hard-nosed debate teacher (Wallace Shawn) to boost the grade he’s given her, she softens him by setting him up with a mousy mate from the teachers’ lounge. And when klutzy, frumpy transfer student Tai (Brittany Murphy) arrives at Beverly Hills High, Cher immediately sees her as a makeover project. But when it comes to figuring out her own problems, Cher’s, well, clueless. The boys who like her are immature and gross, and the only one who seems to really get her is her sensitive-dude, college-age stepbrother (an excellent Paul Rudd), who’s totally a ”Baldwin,” but…ew, come on, ”as if!” Thirteen years after she directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Heckerling still had a jeweler’s eye for the tics and traits of teens who hang out at the mall. And if you squint just a little bit, there’s something about Cher that’s slightly familiar. She’s like a more innocent, more materialistic version of Phoebe Cates’ wise-beyond-her-years food-court dispenser of dating wisdom, Linda Barrett. Fast Times is an edgier film than Clueless — its anxieties are less superficial, its teens are less blemish-free, even its soundtrack is rougher around the edges. But now, more than a decade and a half after we first met Silverstone’s divine Ms. Horowitz, she still has an important message for those of us watching at home: Namely, ”’tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people.” B+