Director Amy Heckerling
Starring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd
Film **** Extras ***
Until it was yanked off its pedestal by last year's Mean Girls, Clueless was the standard-bearer for witty, sharp-edged teen-coms. As she explains in one of the disc's featurettes, writer/director Amy Heckerling, who'd made her name with another generational bookmark, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, was hired by Fox to develop a movie about LA's moneyed teens. Heckerling duly immersed herself in their rarefi ed subculture and lifted many of her characters' quirks and rich-kid slang from the real-life residents of Beverly Hills High. She also pinched her plot from Jane Austen, penning a clever and very faithful riff on Emma. Mystified by Heckerling's script, Fox dumped the movie. Its loss, Paramount's gain. Energised by Alicia Silverstone's star-making turn as spoilt, makeover-obsessed daddy's girl Cher, it initially feels like typical high-school fluff, full of classroom banter about boys, clothes and status. But beneath the glossy sheen beats a subversive heart, as evidenced in Heckerling's mischievous phraseology (“Surfing the crimson wave”, “She's a total Monet”, etc). As yakked by its engaging ensemble cast, it all adds up to, like, totally enjoyable entertainment.
The lack of a commentary means this isn’t as special an edition as it could be. But the featurettes cover everything from casting to how to play ‘Suck And Blow’. They’re also littered with priceless on-set footage, including a chubby-cheeked Brittany Murphy revealing that, like her character Tai, she was also “a virgin who couldn’t drive”.