Hollywood’s attempts at realistically portraying (or even parodying) teenagers are often notoriously lame, and as a rule the soundtrack holds up better than the movie. This summer, we get the best of both worlds: a couple of movies with vastly different takes on high schoolers, both of which manage to ring true on screen and headphones.
For a celebration of the shallower pleasures of adolescence, look no further than Clueless. Like the movie, it is a breezy, lightweight treat that, at its best, fully captures the cruising-with-the-top-down vibe of summer vacation. The frothy mood is set with the Muffs’ exuberant opening track, a cover of Kim Wilde’s 1982 hit ”Kids in America,” and — with a properly programmed CD player — continues through a string of infectious cuts by rapper Coolio, British buzz act Supergrass, and others. Unfortunately, the party comes to an abrupt halt when the producers try to evoke teen angst with tracks by Counting Crows and Radiohead — the kind of decidedly un-fun material Alicia Silverstone astutely labels ”complaint rock” in the film. B