Humans are visual beings. In order to have a successful 90s movie, you had to have a bodaciously babetastic leading lady. Alicia Silverstone fit the role perfectly. Already being largely touted as one of the hottest gals in entertainment for her roles in several multi-platinum Aerosmith singles in the early 90s, she was on an unprecedented roller coaster ride to the top.
Both sarcastic and heartfelt, Clueless is the tale of the beautiful and brightly-colored world of Beverly Hills high school life at the top end of the popularity and socio-economic ladder.
Silverstone’s performance as the dimwitted, vapid, but well-meaning Cher really stands as her breakout role in the film world. There was never really another film that she could fit into as well as she did in this 90s cult classic.
Bronson Alcott High School, the setting of the film, is a thinly veiled homage to the classic teen films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Stealing some of the storyline directly from Jane Austen’s “Emma,” the film is a beautiful clash of high and low art in the form of a literary teen film.
Cher spends most of her time doing girl things with her friend Dionne and using sophisticated computer programs to pick out her daily outfits. While there is substance to the film, it is really best enjoyed as a crash course in effective 90s fashion and slang. The costume designer for the film really outdid herself with the color-coordinated, candy-inspired outfits.
The dialogue is razor sharp too as Cher is great at the well-timed one liners and comes off as very believable and sympathetic overall as a lead heroine. She is a virgin with a snappy wit and a mysterious wisdom behind her rich girl facade.
Cher’s stepbrother, played by the now ever-present Paul Rudd, is the classic straight man and serious antithesis to her bouncy disposition. The story of the movie revolves around Cher’s life and, most notably, her pygmalion transformation of Brittany Murphy’s helplessly unfashionable, fish-out-of-water, new girl character.
There aren’t too many words about this film I can say that have not already been said. It is widely considered a classic especially with hardcore teen movie fans and it is definitely in my own top twenty, if only for the strength of the cast. With a solid script and tight acting, Clueless proves why it ranks among the most memorable and often-quoted 90s movies.