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Clueless (1995)

Film fans watching Look Who’s Talking Too at the dawn of the 90s might never have guessed that writer-director Amy Heckerling’s next film – a full five years later – would be one of the decade’s great Hollywood comedies.

But in refitting the matchmaking plot of Jane Austen’s Emma for the super-rich kids of modern Beverly Hills, Heckerling arrived at one of the glories of the high-school-movie golden age.

Chic but dippy blonde Cher Hamilton (Alicia Silverstone) and her best friend Dionne (Stacey Dash) are going on 16 and know everything about being gorgeous, popular, and always in vogue.

The duo indulges in the trials and tribulations of designer-label animosity and MTV promiscuity, while Cher’s lawyer father, Mel (Dan Hedaya) and intellectual stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd) look on in total bemusement.

Everything changes, though, when new transfer student Tai (Brittany Murphy) arrives. She is, in a word, “clueless”, and Cher sees it as her mission in life to give grungy Tai a complete makeover.

Cher rejects the popular Elton (Jeremy Sisto) but is ready to renounce her celibacy for way-cute Christian (Justin Walker) – that is, until she figures out that Christian is gay and she might really be in love with her stepbrother Josh, who thinks Cher is a selfish egoist.

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Like Heathers (1989) before it, director Amy Heckerling’s smart satire sharpens its comedic scalpel on the manners and mores of self-centred fashion victims.

Clueless is such a smart and sweet-natured take on the tribulations of teenhood and privilege that even the genre’s time-honoured virginity-losing imperative is seen through a sharp satire on consumerism: “You see how picky I am about my shoes”, says Cher, “and they only go on my feet!”

It also has some great one-liners: “What did you do in school today?” “Oh, I broke in my purple clogs”; “What’s the point of learning to park when every place you go to has a valet?”

GLOSSARY
Majorly = very
Do-able = sexually attractive
Hottie = a do-able babe
Baldwin = a gorgeous hunk

Cher Hamilton
Alicia Silverstone
Dionne
Stacey Dash
Josh
Paul Rudd
Tai
Brittany Murphy
Murray
Donald Faison
Amber
Elisa Donovan
Travis
Breckin Meyer
Elton
Jeremy Sisto
Christian
Justin Walker
Mr Hall
Wallace Shawn
Miss Geist
Twink Caplan
Mel
Dan Hedaya

Director
Amy Heckerling

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