Wednesday, May 11, 2016

100 Words On ... Clueless

The first, and still one of the best, of the now numerous movies to transpose the plot of a Jane Austen novel (in this case, Emma) to a modern context, writer-director Amy Heckerling’s Clueless is a fizzy SweeTart of a pop culture time capsule. It’s also a classic female coming-of-age story, echoing both Austen’s older-sister appreciation of her headstrong heroine’s good qualities and her bemused eye-rolling at her misplaced priorities and callow confidence. Young Emma’s early-19th-century version of entitlement and her appealing, if often delusional, self-confidence translates seamlessly to Cher’s (Alicia Silverstone) brand of 1990s alpha-girl California high-school cool.
The characters are a little more stereotyped than those in Heckerling’s other great high school movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but Silerstone conveys the caring heart and good sense underlying Cher’s apparently oblivious materialism, Dan Hedaya is just prickly enough as her stern but loving dad, a pre-foot-in-mouth Stacey Dash is deliciously regal as her best friend, and Paul Rudd is adorable, as usual, as the deceptively perceptive ex-stepbrother who loves Cher not for her flawless sense of style but in spite of it.

Written for Brooklyn Magazine

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