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Laramie Movie Scope: Clueless

A funny, smart teen comedy

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 24, 1995 -- ``Clueless'' is a movie that appears to be dumb fun on the surface, but there's a lot more going on than what's on the surface.

It's really a smart romantic comedy about high school kids in Beverly Hills. The best part of the film is, like, the language the kids use. It's like the language of normal people, NOT EVEN!

The lingo is reminiscent of the ``Valley Girl'' talk on Moon Zappa's record a few years ago, but it's been updated. For instance a good looking boy might be called a ``Baldwin'' after the actors of the same name.

Reportedly, the director, Amy Heckerling (``Fast Times at Ridgemont High'') actually went to a Beverly Hills high school to find out how the kids are talking these days and used that information in the film.

The movie stars Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and her friend Dionne (Stacey Dash) who are both totally self-absorbed, stunning beauties (named after famous singers who now do infomercials, she explains).

Cher soon embarks on a voyage of self-discovery as she tries to better herself and help those around her. It's an interesting, but not totally convincing voyage, a secular humanistic fantasy of sorts, which is loosely based on the Jane Austen book, Emma.

Along the way, however, are some hilarious jokes. The film is funny, even though it is difficult to relate to kids who live in a world that is so far apart from the norm. The movie does finally connect, I think, because of the love story that underlies the rest of the plot.

The young actors in the film are convincing, but they look a little old to be high school kids. Dan Hedaya is terrific as Cher's father. He delivers one of the best lines I've ever heard about a father's warning to a young man dating his daughter. The film is rated PG for sexual-related dialogue and some use of alcohol and drugs. Quality-wise, the film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)