1995, PG-13, 97 min. Directed by Amy Heckerling. Starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, Jeremy Sisto, Justin Walker, Wallace Shawn, Twink Calan, Dan Hedaya.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., July 21, 1995
Rarely do you find a film so aptly titled as this one, though the upcoming Pauly Shore vehicle, Dude, I Suck comes close. Director Heckerling, who scored so well so long ago with the brilliant, seminal Fast Times at Ridgemont High, returns to cloyingly similar territory in what is essentially a mediocre Nineties updating of that previous film. Instead of Jeff Spicoli, though, we have Cher (über-babe/Aerosmith shill Silverstone), a dangerously fashion-conscious Beverly Hills teen whose one great joy in life is making-over her friends and maintaining her status as Miss Popularity, USA. Michael Lehmann's Heathers followed the same sort of story line to much better effect in 1989, and Clueless leaves you itching to race over to the video store in search of just that. Silverstone and the ensemble cast of generic high-schoolers (including a phenomenally ill-used Wallace Shawn replacing the Ray Walston character from Fast Times) tweak their way through a Fox sitcom-quality string of cheap gags and ham-handed teen angst that isn't so much humorous as it is boring. Perhaps it's unfair to keep returning to the comparison with Fast Times, but those characters -- Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Sean Penn, et al. -- seem, in retrospect, to have been achingly more realized. The kids here just mope, pout, and whine to varying degrees until you want to ship them all off to Rock 'n' Roll High School so the Ramones can take a crack at 'em (“Teenage Lobotomy” never sounded so accurate). Clueless indeed.