“Clueless” takes to the Purr

Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is the shopaholic daughter of a wealthy lawyer.

Courtesy of IMDB.com.

Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is the shopaholic daughter of a wealthy lawyer.

Lauren Martin, Staff Reporter

Director Amy Heckerling released “Clueless” July 19, 1995. Rated PG-13, this comedy/romance movie is about Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone). She is a wealthy, popular, and superficial student attending Beverly Hills High School. As the plot progresses, audiences soon discover Cher’s mother has been dead for several years due to routine medical complications. She is now being raised by her father, Mel (Dan Hedaya). It also becomes clear Mel had been remarried and divorced, leaving Cher with a socially conscious ex-step brother named Josh (Paul Rudd).

The first true conflict begins when Cher receives a C in her debate class. Afraid her father, a lawyer, will get angry with her, she manipulates her lonely teacher, Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn), into changing her grade by setting him up with another single teacher, Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). The mission is a success with the help of her best friend and confidante, Dionne (Stacey Dash). Inspired by their victory, they take on a klutzy transfer student named Tai (Brittany Murphy) and give her a makeover.

After putting Tai well on her way to popularity, Cher decides she is interested in finding her own boyfriend. She goes through a few guys on her search, only to come to the conclusion that she has had feelings for Josh the whole time. She also realizes her shallowness and how much she longs to be seen as more than a popular mall junkie. She undergoes a spiritual transformation and realizes her true intelligence and self-worth. It is not until her realization is complete that she learns her feelings for Josh had been mutual the whole time. Cher and Josh are finally revealed as a couple at the conclusion of the movie when they attend the wedding of the teachers who Cher set up at the beginning of the film.

Overall, this movie is a classic, cheesy 1990s movie that represents how people — especially women — from different backgrounds can help each other out. According to imdb.com, this movie was a box office hit, grossing over $56 million in the United States alone. However, even with a budget of $20 million, it still fails to impress.

The first crucial mistake is that even though the plot pacing is satisfactory, too many conflicts were unfolding within its one hour and 41-minute runtime. It also seemed to have a relatively basic plotline that lacked originality. For example, Cher and Tai get in an argument after Tai states she may be interested in Josh. Looking back on their fight, Cher is unsure as to why she became angry in the first place. Then she finally comes to terms with the fact that she herself has been interested in Josh the whole time. The same moment plays out in countless movies of this genre.

Furthermore, the characters are superficial and stereotypical as well as purposeless and predictable. For example, Cher is the perfect example of a stereotypical popular girl. She is displayed as manipulative, wealthy, pretty and superficial. Meanwhile, Tai in the beginning of the movie is a brand new transfer student, and the perfect depiction of the “misfit girl” with baggy, worn-out clothes and no friends. These characters are just a few examples of Clueless stereotypes.

Overall, the film deserves 3 out of 5 stars for its underwhelming plot points, lame attempts at humor and gripping content, as well as for its characters’ struggle to carry weight.