Sunday, 18 July 2010

CLUELESS 1995 - EVERYTHING AUSTEN II

I watched CLUELESS (1995) as my first task for the Everything Austen Challenge II. It is lively comedy, loosely based on Emma (1815). 
If I loved the novel less,  maybe I'd be able to talk about this film more...  favourably. Does this remind you of anything/anyone?
It is not that I didn't like it at all , only I felt the wrong person in the right  place? A total stranger in a group of good friends? A mother peeping on her teenage children's life? I don't know... just out of place. Not my cup of tea?
However, the only thing I liked was the active action of my mind,  trying all the time to connect scenes and characters to the original story. It was  a full immersion in a world  of colourful joyful  adolescents. But this movie is already 15 years old! And since teenagers are part of my job and family life,  I started thinking
1. They are not all that shallow, fortunately!
2. They have rather changed their tastes as for fashion, dancing and music but they have not changed substantially
3. I wouldn't go back to their age for nothing at all!
This does not mean that I love the idea of becoming old but I'd rather go back and live directly my 20s.
Sorry! Back to the point.
It's a movie I'm glad I've seen in order to be able to say I've  watched  all the Emmas, that is all the exixting adaptations, but I wouldn't give to this film more than 3 out of 5 stars.

Here is the story quite in detail . Beware of spoilers.

(from wikipedia)

Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is  a good-natured but superficial girl. She is attractive, popular, and extremely wealthy. At a few months shy of sixteen, she has risen to the top of the high school social scene and is happy and self-assured in her insular, fashion-obsessed world. She lives in a Beverly Hills mansion with her father (Dan Hedaya), a ferocious $500-an-hour litigator; her mother has long since died, having succumbed to complications while undergoing liposuction. Cher's best friend is Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), who is also rich, pretty, and hip, and understands what it's like to be envied.


Among the few people to find much fault with Cher is Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd), her socially conscious ex-stepbrother who visits during a break from college. Josh and Cher spar continually but without malice; she refers to him as "granola breath" and mocks his scruffy idealism, while he teases her for being selfish, vain, and superficial, and says that her only direction in life is "toward the mall."


Illustrating that Cher's selfishness is usually innocent and relatively harmless, Cher plays matchmaker for two lonely, nerdy, hard-grading teachers, Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). She achieves her original purpose – to make them relax their grading standards so she can renegotiate a bad report card – but when she sees their newfound happiness, she realizes she likes doing good deeds. Cher now decides that the ultimate way she can give back to the community would be to "adopt" a "tragically unhip" new girl at school, Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy). Cher and Dionne give Tai a makeover and initiate her into the mysteries of popularity. Cher also tries to extinguish the strong mutual attraction between Tai and Travis (Breckin Meyer), an amiable skateboarding slacker, and to steer her toward Elton (Jeremy Sisto), a rich snob.


Her second matchmaking scheme backfires when Elton rejects Tai and makes a play for Cher. Matters worsen, however, when Cher's "project" works a bit too well and Tai's popularity begins to surpass Cher's, especially after Tai has a "near-death" adventure at the mall that helps to skyrocket her to fame at school. Other classmates, including Dionne and Cher's longtime rival, classmate Amber (Elisa Donovan), soon gravitate toward Tai, and Cher finds herself demoted from queen to courtier at high school.
Meanwhile, Cher has a couple of romantic mishaps with boys at school. The first involves Elton; the next concerns Christian (Justin Walker), a handsome classmate with great fashion sense who turns out to be gay. Cher naively and repeatedly fails to recognize Christian's homosexual tendencies, and tries unsuccessfully to seduce him while they are alone one night watching Spartacus. The next day, Dionne's boyfriend, Murray (Donald Faison), is roaring with laughter, which makes Cher's mistake clear to her at last.
Events reach a crisis after Cher fails her driver's test and can't "renegotiate" the result. When Cher goes home, crushed, Tai confides that she's taken a fancy to Josh and wants Cher to help her "get" him. Cher says she doesn't think Josh is right for her, and they quarrel. Cher, left all alone, begins to think she has created a monster in her own image. Feeling "totally clueless", she reflects on her priorities and her repeated failures to understand or appreciate the people in her life. Most of all, she keeps thinking about Josh and Tai, and wonders why she cares so much.
After much soul-searching (which includes a one-woman shopping spree around various Beverly Hills boutiques), Cher discovers she has fallen in love with Josh. She begins making awkward but sincere efforts to live a more useful life, even captaining the school's Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. A scene near the end of the film finds Cher and Josh stumbling over how to admit their mutual feelings for each other, finally culminating in a tender kiss on the stairs of her home.
The film has a happy Hollywood ending for Cher: Mr. Hall and Miss Geist get married; her friendships with Tai and Dionne are reaffirmed; Tai and Travis are in love; and, in Josh's arms, she too has now finally found love.
Did you see CLUELESS? Did you like it?
That's all for now. My favourite EMMA remains  BBC 2009. No doubt.



What's your favourite Emma so far?  Have you seen my proposal scene comparison on Utube? You'll find both Mr Knightley's proposal 1973  and  Mr Knightley's proposal 2009 on  my channel. Then it is easy to find the other two ones, also. If you don't want to search,  here's Mark Strong's Knightley proposing and Jeremy Northam's proposal to Gwyneth Paltrow.

ONE OUT OF SIX TASKS FOR THE EVERYTHING AUSTEN CHALLENGE II.
FIVE YET TO GO.  
THE FUN GOES ON!!!

3 comments:

JaneGS said...

I'm a big fan of Clueless, and think it's funny, cute, and refreshing (even at 15 years old--wow, time flies!). I was a big fan of the Paltrow Emma until the latest one came along, and now I must confess that I prefer it. I never liked the Beckinsale Emma--in fact I loathed it for years, watched it again, and have to admit that it wasn't as bad as I remember, but I don't care for any of the casting at all.

Meredith said...

"If I loved the novel less, maybe I'd be able to talk about this film more... favourably."

HAHA! I love it! Great review, Maria and congrats on completely your first task! While I liked Clueless, I didn't love it. It isn't one of those movies that I have-to-own and watch repeatedly. I do love a lot of the actors in this movie though, especially Paul Rudd and Donald Faison! I haven't watched it for years though, I should watch it again and see if I feel the same...

Favorite Emma???
Without a doubt the Paltrow-Northam one. I know it has its discrepencies, but I love it!

cometellmewhatyouread said...

Although I loved all Emmas on screen, I'm partial with Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller as Emma and Mr. Knightley (BBC 2009).