Clueless (1995) — Alicia Silverstone’s finest hour

“Searching for a boy in high school is like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.”

Justin’s rating: Why don’t they sell fashion computers to clueless bachelors?

Justin’s review: Clueless outright triple-dog-dares you to hate it from the outset. It has all the elements that we’ve come to despise in movies over the years, starting with its protagonist being a self-absorbed teen who’s wrapped up around clothing and sucking up her way through high school. Plus, we’re treated to the rich and glitzy world of Beverly Hills, where the worst issue one might have to face is spilling something on a $1700 dress. To top it off with sheer petulance, Clueless promotes and makes famous such mid-90s catch phrases like “As if!” and “WhatEVER!”

Yet the brilliance lies in presenting so many typical cinematic red flags and still turning out to be so cheeky that it’s darn near impossible to dislike.

I have nothing in common with our heroine, Cher (Alicia Silverstone). For one thing, I look terrible in plaid skirts and have never argued a grade with a teacher in my life. As shallow as she is brainy, Cher flits through her life taking little seriously. Her bubbly manipulation of her teachers, her father, and her friends would almost be naughty if she didn’t shed innocence like some itchy snake. Wow… that metaphor really, really, really did not work. To bad I lack the will to reach over to the backspace and try again. On to the next paragraph, my friends!

As quotable as it is funny, Clueless is a great party pick for any crowd. The war between Cher and her half-brother, half-crush Josh is enjoyable… after all, movies teach us that all great relationships begin in antagonism, right? Right, you pickle-headed, obtuse toe monkey? It’s awesome to have college kid Josh as a foil for Cher, because while he’s the opposite of everything she is (he dresses in grunge, cares about the environment, and is somewhat responsible), he’s by no means a more honorable character. Cher might be shallow, but Josh is certainly pretentious (like OH SO many college students from my illustrious past).

The plot rambles around in episodic fashion, as Cher gets two of her teachers to fall in love, takes a new Midwestern (and that means DUMB, naturally) friend under her wing, dates a 90210 clone, and fights for her own popularity. And she’s surrounded by an incredible supporting cast, including Shawn Wallace (The Princess Bride), Brittany Murphy (Sin City), Brecken Meyer (Road Trip), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Donald Fiason (Scrubs), and the ever-grouchy Dan Huyundi. Heyena.

WhatEVER.

Alicia Silverstone got a huge fan following after this flick, but as it turned out, Clueless ended up being the high-water mark of her career. At least she’s able to point to the fact that she was in one of the best teen comedies of all time (and you, it should be mentioned, were not), so even Batman and Robin isn’t powerful enough to take that from her.

Kyle’s rating: I wish they all could be California girls

Kyle’s review: Let me make something totally clear from the start – not all California girls are like Cher (dear Miss Alicia Silverstone), although it would be great if they were. Not all CA guys are like the clueless dudes of Clueless, either. At the time this movie was made there wasn’t much intelligence in the state, but since then Phil Jackson and myself have become official CA residents, and that has made the state IQ level raise incredibly.

But I digress.

This movie is great. I feared it would be junk back in the mid-90s when it came out, but then I rented it and found it was the coolest. The coolest! This slice o’ life of Cher and her friends is somehow superficially deep and vainly sweet, and while it won’t change your life in the slightest it will definitely put a smile on your face. And it has a fantastic soundtrack! I own the movie and the soundtrack, and I enjoy them both immensely.

Yes, it’s full of hot girls, good tunes and loads of smart teen humor (a rare commodity) but it also possess the special movie magic that allows you to watch it over and over without getting sick of it. Damn you, Hollywood! Consult films like Clueless and Raiders of the Lost Ark and learn how to make better films that last through repeated viewings, I command you.

So that’s about it. Check out Clueless if you haven’t, because it’s the absolute cat’s meow. Tell your friends to check it out if they haven’t already, because it is wonderful. Wonderful! Alicia, your finest work is here, so if you never have another hit fear nothing! Your legacy is assured!

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