Wednesday, December 11

Clueless


Clueless

By Colburn Tseng

Movie titles like Clueless and Dumb and Dumber are the snide
critic’s dream. Big, bold sentences filled with clever, cutting
puns march through the mind

at a steady pace begging to grace the printed page. But alas,
snide cleverness will have to wait because Clueless is neither dumb
nor dumber.

Light-hearted, amusing and sometimes very funny, Clueless takes
a look at the familiar territory of high school through the eyes of
a 16-year-old girl from Beverly Hills.

Alicia Silverstone plays Cher, the film’s heroine, an incurable
optimist who’s got life all figured out. Fabulously wealthy and
immensely popular, Cher breezes through school, cellular phone in
hand, looking for ‘projects’ to keep her busy.

Cher has a curious habit of tinkering with other people’s lives,
and it isn’t long before she’s sparked a romance between two
teachers and taken the new girl, Tai (Brittany Murphy), under her
wing, determined to make her popular.

Romance is a major concern for the girls. Cher’s best friend
Dionne (Stacey Dash) is constantly at odds with her boyfriend,
Murray (a hilarious Donald Faison). Tai develops a crush on Travis
(Breckin Meyer), the resident stoner, then at Cher’s urging, sets
her sights on Elton (Jeremy Sisto), before falling for Josh (Paul
Rudd), Cher’s college-going step-brother.

Cher falls for Christian, a recent transfer student, and the
disastrous results of this pursuit slowly begin to unravel her
previously unflappable confidence.

Part of Clueless’ charm is the affectionate way its characters
are satirized. Cher’s gross naiveté is what makes her so
appealing.

Unfortunately, the film is not as funny or original as it needs
to be. Travis’ dopey stoner has had a dozen incarnations since Sean
Penn defined the archetype as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at
Ridgemont High (also directed by Amy Heckerling). Cher’s eventual
jealousy of Tai is predictable, and the romantic relationship Cher
winds up in at the end raises some truly bizarre moral
questions.

The film’s best feature is its young stars. Faison and Meyer are
great fun to watch, and Silverstone, demonstrating a genuine flair
for comedy, proves that she has what it takes to become a huge
star.

FILM: Clueless. Written and Directed by Amy Heckerling. Starring
Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, and Brittany Murphy

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