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"Clueless" Review

I haven't seen Clueless all the way through since it was in theaters in 1995. I don't even recall catching chunks on cable or anything, so there was plenty I didn't recall, though nothing I've been missing. It's still cute, but has aged terribly due to waaaaaay too many cultural references of that time. (Marky Mark, really? Who calls him that now? Besides everyone, I mean.)

I've never cared for Alicia Silverstone (the Non-Stick Bimbo, as I used to say) and the way she landed a two-picture, $10 million deal as if she was the reason this movie was a hit bothered me. Without Amy Heckerling's script and direction (she also directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High and created the Look Who's Talking series), would she have become a brief star and had her chubby bod squeezed into the Batgirl suit for the series-killing Batman & Robin? I think not. (OK, the weight shot was a little cheap. She's just round in the face like Jennifer Lawrence and one scene had her in a skirt so short, I was going "whoa!") To be fair, I can see why Hollyweird thought she had the goods; she's absolutely sparkling and charming. She makes what could've been a shallow, spoiled, annoying twit into a good-hearted semi-mess.

Which brings up the biggest problem with Heckerling's script: It's herky-jerky lack of flow, jumpy plotting, whiplash character shifts (S'stone's and Brittany Murphy's falling out and reconciliation feels like reels are missing; other stuff, too) and heavy reliance of pop culture references make it feel episodic, like a random selection of sit-com scenes. There's some good lines and moments which are still funny (e.g. "You're a virgin who can't drive." "You see how picky I am about shoes and they just go on my feet.") but the levels are all over the place. Cher is supposed to be ditzy and unprepared in school, requiring finagling to get better grades, but she drops a college-level vocabulary in her dialog.

It's also interesting to see the protozoic version of Paul Rudd's passive-aggressive demeanor before he got big. I'd remember that Murphy was heavier back then - a factor that led to the heavy dieting and body abuse that contributed to her tragic death at 32 - but she is unrecognizable with the brown hair and Brooklyn accent.

I'd almost picked up a cheap Blu-ray of this (EDIT: I have the Whatever! Edition DVD), but I'm glad I didn't because for all its cute moments, it doesn't hold up. (Now I'm worried about the 10 Things I Hate About You and She's All That Blus I have.) Instead, I watched it in HD from Amazon Instant Prime on my Xbox for free. That's the way to go. As if!

Score: 6/10. Stream it.


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