And coming to a final stop in the big Emma–Adaptation–Watching-and-Comparing, we got Clueless, Amy Heckerling‘s modernised adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer and Jeremy Sisto.
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is a rich LA teenager whose life revolves around her clothes and her friends, most of all Dionne (Stacey Dash). When Cher gets bad grades in her debate class, she decides to set up two of her teachers – Mr Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). And since she enjoys playing the matchmaker, she decides to set up the new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy) as well.
I love this movie so much, I can’t even tell you. This migh taint my judgment, but I think it’s pretty much perfect – funny, intelligent and sweet. The only fault I can find with it is that it doesn’t credit Austen at all. [It’s just different enough to not make it completely indecent, but still.]
Clueless is of course not a literal adaptation of Emma, but it’s very close. Probably as close as you can get when transplanting it to a high school in LA in the 90s. [That’s why I think it’s so weird that Heckerling didn’t credit Austen.] It really is a stroke of genius to have moved the setting there – and it is very surprising how well this works. The script is generally intelligent and written with a lot of warmth. And it’s funny.
The cast is really good. Alicia Silverstone is wonderful, Brittany Murphy is awesome, Jeremy Sisto is great and Stacey Dash, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer… *gush* Even Paul Rudd, who I don’t much like in other movies, works very well in this role.
The soundtrack is really great, too. A very fine collection of 90s pop songs.
It’s more difficult to compare this movie to the other Emma adaptations, of course, but I think Alicia Silverstone is the best Emma and Brittany Murphy is the best Harriet. I also liked the idea of Frank being gay. And Jeremy Sisto’s Elton is wonderfully slimy and snobby.
Okay, before I’ll regress completely to teenage-fangirl-dom, I’ll stop here.
Summarising: See it. You’ll probably like it, even if you might not like it as much as I do [because probably nobody can].
Is this the right moment to say how excited I am about Vamps?