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Clueless by Amy Heckerling

Title Clueless
Writer/Director Amy Heckerling
Production Company Paramount
Year 1995
Run Time 97 minutes
Rating PG-13

Teaser Clothes, popularity, and romance are essential to any teen girl. And, of course, makeovers.

Plot Summary This movie chronicles the misadventures of the clueless Beverly Hills high schooler, Cher, as she stumbles her way through learning about life, love, and friendship; though, not necessarily in that order. Cher is rich, blonde, popular, and pretty; she is able to manipulate everything around her and appears to have the perfect teen girl's life. Everything that she wants falls into her lap either through her own device or her father's wealth or influence. When a new girl, Tai, arrives on the scene, Cher and her best friend, Dionne, take it upon themselves to give her a physical and mental makeover to help the hopeless Chicago girl fit in to her new life in Los Angeles. While trying to set Tai up with what she believes to be a suitable guy, Cher finds herself in a series of hapless romantic and social entanglements and escalating life problems.

Critical Evaluation Clueless is a modernized, 1990s adaptation of the classic novel Emma and does its part in filling the shoes the book left behind and bridging the gap between generations. Already considered a timeless teen movie, Clueless hits on top teen topics such as drinking, sex, drugs, popularity, and friendship without becoming over-the-top or losing the connection with the teenagers themselves. While the characters are deliberately out there and not ones found at a regular high school, it is the extremities that they portray which drive home the lessons. While the valley girl language and nineties' slang could be a turn off for some viewers, it is used for witty, comedic effect within the movie and is still understandable despite the years and changing youth vocabulary. Beneath the “dude language,” however, lies deeper witticism and poignant social commentary about life as a teenager and the difficulties everyone feels fitting in, despite outward appearances.

About the Author Amy Heckerling (May 7, 1954) is an American film writer and director born and raised in New York City. She attended the High School of Art and Design and studied film at New York University. She later went on to get her master's degree from the AFI Conservatory.

She is considered a rarity in the film industry as she is one of the few female writers to have multiple hit movies including the notable teen movies Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Clueless (1995), along with the 2000 hit Loser. While she has not had any recent success, there are rumors that she is directing a new movie with Alicia Silverstone, the star of Clueless.

Primary Genre Comedy

Secondary Genre Romance

Curriculum Ties English

Booktalking Ideas

1) What else could Cher and Dion have done to help make Tai's transition to LA easier?

2) While the characters are dramatic representations of stereotypes, what facets of each can be found in your own self and friends?

Interest Age 13+

Challenge Issues Drinking, Drug Use, Sexual References - These could all be defended in that none of them are taken to extremes and each has a moral lesson tied to them.

Why is it included? This is a movie I enjoyed as a teenager and one that teenagers I currently know enjoy and relate to.