Whatever Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash, Breckin Meyer, Dan Hedaya
Director: Amy Heckerling
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: August 30, 2005

“Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.”

Film ***

Here was one of the more pleasant surprises to come out of the 90s; a little movie called Clueless. Had it not been for the high word of mouth from both critics and friends of mine who seen it, I would’ve probably never seen it. But I’m glad I did, because the movie was not at all what I expected it to be. Ten years later, the movie still holds up.

Upon first glance at the advertising for the movie, I thought the movie was going to be nothing more than an average teeny bopper high school movie. I was in high school at the time this movie came out, and for some reason, high school teen flicks were something I tried to stay away from. But the elements of Clueless won me over in a heartbeat.

The movie can be looked at as several things. First, it’s a riotous send up of all the rich high school caricatures we’ve come to know from other movies, as well as TV shows like Beverly Hills, 90210. The movie also happens to be a contemporary version of Jane Austen’s Emma. And it’s also a genuinely sweet romantic comedy that isn’t as lame-brained as many movies of this sort are.

The fast paced montage which opens the movie looks like it’s leading down that road. Then a voiceover says, “OK, so you’re probably going; Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?” The voiceover belongs to Cher (Alicia Silverstone), the film’s heroine. She is a most self-absorbed and ultra spoiled rich kid whose daily battle consists of what she is going to wear every morning.

Cher, along with her best friend, Dionne (Stacey Dash), are indeed both named after great singers of the past that now do infomercials. The two strut about high school life caring little about grades, and much more about fashion, boys and pretty much anything having to do with themselves. But before she knows it, Cher establishes herself as a top notch matchmaker for several students, and teachers, in the school, a la Emma.

She also lends a helping hand to certain girls in need of a partying makeover. Enter Tai (Brittany Murphy), a transfer student who’s a bit of ditz. Cher and Dionne become friends and give her some much needed partying advice. Before long, she’s getting down at local parties and “ROLLIN’ WITH THE HOMIES”.

Another benefit the movie has is Amy Heckerling, director Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Heckerling also wrote this movie, and blends razor sharp wit with outlandish laughs. Heckerling made one of the best high school movies of the 80s, and with Clueless, she’s made one of the very best high school movies of the 90s.

Video ***1/2

Paramount scores again with this delightful transfer. The anamorphic picture is quite clear, with immense detail. Colors are definitely a plus here, as all the bright and colorful elements of the Beverly Hills setting illume quite beautifully. Give a noticeable blemish or two; this is a most satisfying video handling.

Audio ***

The sound power in this lively 5.1 mix comes mostly from the upbeat collection of tunes on the soundtrack, along with several hysterical physical gags (including a driving lesson on a freeway). Dialogue delivery is as clear as can be. Overall, this is a stellar treatment for a movie of this form.

Features ***1/2

This new “Whatever” Edition of the movie comes with some nice retrospective documentaries. There’s “The Class Of '95”, which looks at the cast, then and now; “Creative Writing”, where Director Heckerling talks about creating the world of Clueless; “Fashion 101”, which covers the fashion aspect of the movie; “Language Arts”, a in-depth look at the slang talk; “How To Play The "Suck 'N Blow" Game”;Driver's Ed” with the cast and crew; “We're History”, which includes stories from the cast and crew, and lastly, there are 2 Theatrical Trailers.


Clueless remains a most funny movie experience, and even though the movie is enriched in elements that were more popular a decade ago, the humor and all around wit give the movie its holding power.

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