Sunday, 1 March 2009

Retro Review: Clueless

So now I know where the phrase, 'My Bad' came from. After years of hit and miss I decided to watch Clueless today and I am so glad I did because I feel like I have just fitted the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Clueless is based on Emma which is a novel written by super scribe Jane Austen and it features Cher Horowitz played by Alicia Silverstone, a sweet natured Beverly Hills princess who is just a tad bit pampered and self involved. This film is one of many adaptation of novels penned by Jane Austen and William Shakespeare that hit the scene in the 90s. Remember Romeo + Juliet and 10 Things I hate About You - films that were based on popular period dramas and were given a modern twist. Well Clueless led the pack of films aimed at the MTV Generation and is now revered as the ultimate teen comedy.

Cher and her best friend Dionne played by Stacey Dash are the most popular girls in school which is fitting as they are both named after the singers. Cher lives with her lawyer father in a big mansion and her life is picture perfect although it is marred slightly by a short visit by her former step brother, Josh played by Paul Rudd. Josh and Cher are poles apart as he is a deep thinking intellectual while Cher's deepest challenge is sussing out which pair of shoes to wear. The banter between the duo is very entertaining and serves as a focal point for the film as Josh's comments about Cher's superficiality leads her to become less involved. She becomes something of a match maker by setting up her two teachers on a date and while doing this she develops a taste for helping people. So when new girl, Tai played by Brittany Murphy joins the school Cher takes her under her wing, giving her a makeover which escalates Tai's popularity. Meanwhile she becomes so wrapped up in sorting out other people's love lives that she does not notice that she has an admirer of her own.

I will admit that the reason why I did not rush to see this film when it was released back in 1995 was because of the title which sounded like a lightweight comedy. By god was I wrong, Clueless is iconic in so many ways and way ahead of its time. Without this film there would be no Legally Blonde (which is really the naughties version of Clueless), and there would definitely be no Mean Girls. That snappy dialogue that had everyone keeling over set the benchmark for how teen comedies should be. Director, Amy Heckerling certainly did her homework here and conveys pop culture in the most accurate form.

Language
It was the first film to portray how teenagers spoke to each other. Hence phrases such as 'Whatever,' 'Totally,' 'As If,' and of course 'My bad.'

Fashion
The film was full of cute plaid suits, baby doll dresses and over the knee socks, all of which became the rage in the mid 90s.

TV Series
The success of the film led to a spin off TV series which starred a few of the key characters. Cher was played by another actress.

Books
A collection of books were released after the film came out.

There is no doubt in my mind that Clueless is a pop cultural phenomenon.

In case you are a Clueless fanatic you can buy the special DVD edition, Clueless Whatever holds interview with the cast and delves into the fashion and trends from the film. You can purchase it here.

10 cool comments:

Broadband said...

Not ashamed to say that I glanced at the movie and TV series more than once. 30% of the time for the entertaintment and 70% for Stacey Dash. The crush hasnt died lol

migratingfishswim said...

IMHO this is a very good film. genuinely funny and with 3-D characters to boot

underrated i think, probably because it's aimed at women and girls, grrrrrr.

i also love emma, well-spotted ondo lady on noticing this, i didn't, despite my love of reading jane austen!

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MsQuiche said...

Wow, didn't know ' my bad' came from Clueless. Used to love the TV series, more so than the film even. What's happened to Alicia Silverstone and Stacy Dash?

Kwana said...

I've always been a fan of clueless. Love this movie. It was just about perfect and I agree so ahead of it's time in so many way. The perfect 90's teen movie.

Chic Chocolate said...

Love this movie!!

Ondo Lady said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. Alicia Silverstone went all eco green on us and I believe that Stacey Dash is a mum. Did you know that she is also Damon Dash's cousin?

fritha louise said...

I LOVE Clueless, it's so cheesy yet still great.
Ace review by the way :)

Dajamzback said...

Sigh. Soo you finally saw it and liked it. Excellent. What's next on the retro viewing list?

MizzJ said...

Great movie!! This brings back memories. Last I saw of Stacy Dash, she was on that celebrity circus show :p