Clueless is a 1995 American coming-of-age romantic comedy film written and directed by Amy Heckerling. It stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd and Brittany Murphy. Clueless was produced by Scott Rudin and Robert Lawrence. It is loosely based on Jane Austen's 1815 novel, Emma, with a modern-day setting of Beverly Hills. The plot centers on Cher Horowitz, a high school student, who befriends a new student named Tai Frasier and decides to give her a makeover.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Amy Heckerling|
|Written by||Amy Heckerling|
|Music by||David Kitay|
|Edited by||Debra Chiate|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$56.6 million|
Clueless was filmed in California over a 40-day schedule. The film's director, Heckerling, studied real Beverly Hills high school students to learn the lingo and to understand how real teens in the 1990s talked. The famous quote "as if!" came from Heckerling's study of these teens.
The film grossed $56.1 million in the United States. It has received generally positive reviews from critics and is considered to be one of the best teen films of all time. Clueless has developed a cult following and has a continuing legacy. The film was followed by a spin-off television sitcom, series of books, and Paramount Studios has announced that they are producing a remake.
Cher Horowitz lives in a Beverly Hills mansion with her father Mel, a $500-an-hour litigator; her mother died from an accident during a routine liposuction procedure when Cher was a baby. Cher is attractive, popular, and wealthy. She attends Bronson Alcott High School. Cher's best friend is Dionne Davenport, who is also wealthy and beautiful. Dionne has a long-term relationship with popular student Murray; Cher claims that this is a pointless endeavor for Dionne.
Josh, Cher's socially conscious ex-stepbrother, visits her during a break from college. Josh and Cher spar continually but playfully. She mocks his idealism, while he teases her for being selfish, vain, and superficial, and says that her only direction in life is "toward the mall". Cher plays matchmaker for two hard-grading teachers at her school, Mr. Hall and Miss Geist. She facilitates the relationship between the teachers in order to make them relax their grading standards so she can renegotiate a bad grade on her report card. But after she sees their newfound happiness, she realizes she enjoys doing good deeds. Cher then decides to give back to the community by "adopting" a "tragically unhip" new girl at school, Tai Frasier. Cher and Dionne give Tai a makeover, which gives Tai confidence and a sense of style. Cher also tries to extinguish the attraction between Tai and Travis Birkenstock, an amiable skateboarding slacker, and to steer her towards Elton, a popular and wealthy student.
Elton rejects Tai and unsuccessfully attempts to seduce Cher. A handsome new student at their school named Christian becomes Cher's target boyfriend. Murray explains to Cher and Dionne that Christian is gay. Despite the failure of this endeavor, Cher remains on friendly terms with Christian, primarily due to her admiration of his taste in art and fashion. Matters take a turn for the worse when Tai's newfound popularity strains her relationship with Cher. Cher's frustration escalates when she fails her driving test and cannot change the result. When Cher returns home, crushed, Tai confesses her fancy for Josh. Tai wants Cher's help in pursuing Josh. Cher says Tai is not right for Josh and they quarrel. Cher and Tai's disagreement ends with Tai calling Cher a "virgin who can't drive". Feeling "totally clueless", Cher reflects on her priorities and her repeated failures to understand or appreciate the people in her life.
After thinking about why she is bothered by Tai's interest in Josh, Cher realizes that she loves Josh. She begins making awkward but sincere efforts to live a more purposeful life, including captaining the school's Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. Cher and Josh eventually admit their feelings for one another, culminating in a tender kiss. Ultimately, Mr. Hall and Miss Geist wed; Cher's friendships with Tai and Dionne are solidified; Tai and Travis are in love; and Cher catches the wedding bouquet, helping Josh win a $200 bet. She embraces Josh and they kiss.
- Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz
- Stacey Dash as Dionne Davenport
- Brittany Murphy as Tai Frasier
- Paul Rudd as Josh Lucas
- Dan Hedaya as Melvin "Mel" Horowitz ("Hamilton" in the credits)
- Elisa Donovan as Amber Mariens
- Justin Walker as Christian Stovitz
- Wallace Shawn as Mr. Wendell Hall
- Twink Caplan as Ms. Toby Geist
- Julie Brown as Coach Millie Stoeger
- Donald Faison as Murray Duvall, Dionne's long-term boyfriend
- Breckin Meyer as Travis Birkenstock
- Jeremy Sisto as Elton Tiscia
- Nicole Bilderback as Summer Han
- Sean Holland as Lawrence
Principal photography for the film took place between November 21-December 31, 1994. The film had a 40-day filming schedule. Producers sat in on classes at Beverly Hills High School to get a feel for the student culture. Herb Hall, the real drama teacher at Beverly Hills High School, had a short scene as the principal in the film. Scenes depicting the high school campus, including the tennis courts, the outdoor cafeteria, the quad, and various classrooms were filmed at Occidental College in Los Angeles. The mall scenes were filmed at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, CA.
The film became a surprise sleeper hit of 1995. Clueless opened theatrically in 1,653 theaters on July 19, 1995 and grossed $10,612,443 on its opening weekend, which led to a ranking of second behind Apollo 13. The film grossed $56,631,572 during its theatrical run, becoming the 32nd highest-grossing film of 1995. This box office success brought the then-largely-unknown Silverstone to international attention. The film also developed a strong cult following after its release.
The film was well received by critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 79% based on reviews from 63 critics and judged it "Certified Fresh" with an average rating of 6.89/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati." On Metacritic, the film has a 68 out of 100 rating based on 18 reviews, which indicates "generally positive reviews".
The film was seen as a teen flick that had a strong influence on fashion trends and lingo. Fashion as a form of self-expression played an important role in the narrative and character development of the film, television series, and novels, which are topics examined by Alice Leppert.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars. Janet Maslin of The New York Times notes, "Even if Clueless runs out of gas before it's over, most of it is as eye-catching and cheery as its star." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film four stars, contrasting it to the more adult-oriented film about teenagers released around the same time, Kids, stating, "The materialism in Clueless is almost as scary as the hopelessness in Kids."
In 2008, Entertainment Weekly selected Clueless as one of the "New Classics," a list of 100 released between 1983 and 2008,Clueless was ranked 42nd.. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly named it the 19th best comedy of the past 25 years.
American Film Institute recognition:
Faithfulness to the textEdit
The movie "Clueless" is a loose adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma.
Cher Horowitz/Emma Woodhouse - The title character Cher is representative of the main character Emma Woodhouse: Spunky, carefree, entitled, perpetually single, and matchmaker extraordinaire, both Cher and Emma enjoy the satisfaction of helping those who are without love find a perfect match. This is first seen within the first fifteen minutes of the film when both she and Dionne pair their English teacher with the school's Debate teacher. However, this is more prominently reflected when Cher does everything in her power to pair her newest friend Tai. While both Emma and Cher mean well in their matchmaking attempts, neither of them realize the depths of their actions nor their feelings towards Josh/Mr. Knightly until Tai/Harriet asks her to set her up with Josh/Mr. Knightly.
Josh/Mr. Knightly - Cher's stepbrother, Josh is found to be utterly repulsive to Cher, as she states at the beginning of the movie that she has no positive feelings towards him in the slightest. Because of this, the two bicker on a near constant basis. However, as the movie progresses, Josh is shown to be more caring and considerate towards Cher, becoming defensive towards her choices of men and life choices. It is not until the end of the movie it is revealed that Josh is in love with Cher and the two share a passionate kiss. Similar to Mr. Knightly, Josh is a social climber who has aspirations to go to law school much like his stepfather, Mr. Horowitz.
Dionne/Jane Fairfax - Best Friend of Cher, the two are shown to be nearly inseparable in their antics. Dionne is supportive of Cher's matchmaking attempts and even joins her in her actions a couple of times.
Tai/Harriet Smith - Tai, representative of the young, fair, and socially awkward Harriet Smith, is a newcomer to Bronson Alcott High School. Soon after, she is swept off her feet by both Cher and Dionne as they help her (unintentionally) become the most popular girl in school, much to Cher's jealousy. At the beginning of the film, Tai is attracted to Travis, a well-meaning, skateboard riding, pot smoker social recluse though is encouraged by Cher to strive for someone more socially well off, as Travis is not considered to be a socially acceptable partner. Following this advice, Tai then falls for Josh, much to even more of Cher's Jealousy.
Mel Horowitz/Mr. Henry Woodhouse - Just as in the book, Mr. Horowitz is a well known and respected man within his circle of friends. Though there is one major difference between both characters: While Mr. Horowitz Is shown to have little to no care for his health, Mr. Woodhouse is considered to be a valetudinarian. Both characters are shown to love their daughter greatly while not always being so forward in their affection.
Travis/Robert Martin - A stoner and a skater who falls for Tai by the end of the film; however, their attempts at courtship are derailed for a time by Cher's attempts to set Tai up with Elton. Travis is an underachiever, constantly late for class and often receiving poor grades.
The film was reissued in a special tenth anniversary "Whatever! Edition" DVD on August 30, 2005. The new issue included featurettes and cast interviews, including:The Class of '95 (a look at the cast), Creative Writing ( Amy Heckerling talks about the script), Fashion 101 (how filmmakers invented the trendsetting style of Clueless), Language Arts (the director and cast members give facts on the groundbreaking slang and how Clueless revived Valspeak slang), Suck and Blow (how to play the game depicted in the Sun Valley party scene), Driver's Ed, We're History (stories from cast and crew of Clueless), and two theatrical trailers.
It was released on Blu-ray on May 1, 2012. Special features were carried over from the "Whatever!" edition of 2005, and included a new trivia track.
|1.||"Kids in America" (The Muffs)||3:24|
|2.||"Shake Some Action" (Cracker)||4:25|
|3.||"The Ghost in You" (Counting Crows)||3:30|
|4.||"Here (Squirmel Mix)" (Luscious Jackson)||3:33|
|5.||"All the Young Dudes" (World Party)||4:00|
|6.||"Fake Plastic Trees (acoustic version)" (Radiohead)||4:45|
|7.||"Change" (Lightning Seeds)||4:01|
|8.||"Need You Around" (Smoking Popes)||3:42|
|9.||"Mullet Head" (Beastie Boys)||2:53|
|10.||"Where'd You Go?" (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones)||3:16|
|11.||"Rollin' with My Homies" (Coolio)||4:06|
|13.||"My Forgotten Favorite" (Velocity Girl)||3:49|
|14.||"Supermodel" (Jill Sobule)||3:07|
Cultural impact and legacyEdit
After the death of Brittany Murphy, Silverstone stated that she "always felt connected to [Murphy] as [they] shared a very special experience in [their] lives together." Following Murphy's death, Silverstone reported in an interview: "I loved working with Brittany. She was so talented, so warm, and so sweet."
Heckerling later reunited with both Silverstone and Shawn for the vampire comedy Vamps.
Popular culture and societyEdit
Clueless was the main inspiration for Australian rapper Iggy Azalea's music video for her U.S. number one hit single "Fancy" featuring Charli XCX. Many visuals and costumes inspired by the film were used in the video. The video is filled with remakes of classic Clueless scenes. The outfits are also reinvented to channel the famous stylings of the film with a slightly modern edge. "Fancy" was shot in the same Los Angeles high school where Clueless was filmed.. The film was very well known for the characters' catchy phrases and vocabulary, "Cher's verbal style is also marked by ironic contrasts between current slang and historical references, as when she compares Tai to "those Botticelli chicks." The verbal speech of the characters can be seen as enjoyable to audiences. 
In 2015, to celebrate the film's twentieth anniversary, pop culture writer Jen Chaney published a book titled As If!: The Oral History of Clueless. The book is based on exclusive interviews with Amy Heckerling, Alicia Silverstone, and other cast and crew members. Excerpts from the book were published in Vanity Fair.
Spin offs and adaptationsEdit
In 1996, the producers created a spinoff television series, which followed the continuing adventures of Cher and her friends. Several cast members from the film went on to star in the series, with the notable exceptions of Silverstone (who went on to sign a film deal with Columbia-TriStar worth $10 million) and Rudd (whose film career began to take off). Silverstone was replaced in the series with actress Rachel Blanchard.
A comic book series was launched in 2017.
In June 2015, Amy Heckerling announced that a Clueless jukebox musical was in the works. It was announced on June 13, 2018 that Clueless, The Musical will make its Off-Broadway debut as part of The New Group season. Previews began on November 20, 2018. The show will officially open on December 11, 2018 and will have performances through January 12, 2019. The cast will be headed by Dove Cameron as Cher.
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