Usually when you think of the campy genre, it’s associated with horror movies (at least in my world it is) but this is not always the case. When I was younger, I discovered a little movie called Clueless.. maybe you’ve heard of it. At the time, I didn’t get the campy humor of it (pretty much took most of it serious), but the more I watch it as I get older I notice and appreciate the campy-ness of the film and why it was so good.
The story follows “average” teenager Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), who happens to have a wealthy father and lives in Beverly Hills. The intro to the movie plays out like a “Noxzema commercial,” as Cher puts it, which leads into her getting out of bed and ready for school. She’s got it half right, like everyone else she picks out clothes and gets ready… except instead of going into the closet she has a computer program that puts an outfit together for her. We then get to see her driving around in a fully loaded jeep (without a license) as she picks up her best friend Dionne (Stacy Dash). Fun fact about the two of them, they’re named after famous singers who now do infomercials. If you didn’t hate her enough, when you hear her speech about Haitian immigrants coming to America (and how she compares it to her father’s 50th birthday party) you very well might after that.
It may seem like this movie is about as deep as a puddle. These kids are obsessed with themselves, their own gain (as long as it involves the mall or tricking their teachers into raising their grades), but underneath the ignorance and narcissism, there’s some actual wit, humor and depth to Cher and her friends. For example, when new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) arrives at the school dressed like a total misfit, Cher convinces Dionne to give her a makeover to make her more popular. The only downside to that selfless charity is that Tai falls for Cher’s stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd) who Cher unearths feelings for.
In all seriousness, Cher does actually develop some real depth and maturity as the movie goes on. After reaching a point in her life where finds she needs to do a makeover on herself, she decides instead of doing a physical makeover, “I’ll makeover my soul.” Before you think she’s done a total 180, the new found maturity stems from her love of Josh and her need to impress him.
I love this movie because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. These entitled rich kids go through the same issues any other teenager would go through; bad grades, breakups, fights with friends and parents and growing pains. The older I get, the more I appreciate the satire and camp put into this movie. And of course, who doesn’t like a few dumb blonde jokes here and there? Does Cher land her broth…man and live happily ever after? If you want a way to go back to high school without having to relieve those “wonder” years, make sure you watch Clueless. It’s now available instantly on Netflix.
Written by: Katie Sperduti