WASHINGTON — Director Amy (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) Heckerling’s 1995, coming-of-age teen comedy finally gets rereleased in the high definition format. On a disc packaged in a metallic case no less. But Clueless: 25th Anniversary Edition (Paramount Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 95 minutes, $29.99) offers nothing new for devoted fans of the movie and franchise.
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s classic novel “Emma,” “Clueless” takes viewers into a 1990s Beverly Hills. It then exposes them to the randomly meaningful existence of wealthy, attractive and surprising smart high schooler Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone).
The “Clueless” machinations of Cher Horowitz
Skilled in matchmaking and intensive mall shopping, Silverstone’s selfish Valley Girl prima donna mainly enjoys injecting herself in others’ lives. Examples: her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), new friend Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy) and resident burnout Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer).
Cher battles a small gauntlet of issues in her life throughout the film. These include dealing with her strict but well-meaning father Melvin (Dan Hedaya), having a crush on ex-step brother Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd) and negotiating grades with a curmudgeonly debate teacher named Mr. Wendell Hall (Wallace Shawn).
The cartoony characters and plot of “Clueless” are worth a few laughs, and the 2012 high definition, screen-filling transfer remains sharp and colorful, especially when highlighting the 1990s fashions.
However, the music soundtrack always shines led by such classics as No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “Where’d You Go?” (they actually appeared in the movie at a school dance), and the Muffs offering a grungy version of Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America.”
Overall, “Clueless” never delivers the emotional weight or real character dive we expect of John Hughes’ classic teen comedies. But it offers enough humor to appreciate through its exaggerated look at the 1990s high school experience.
Aside from HD, this disc is an exact match with the 2012 Blu-ray release. That’s not necessarily bad for new viewers, as it offers a varied collection of bonus content.
The highlight of the disc: an onscreen true-or-false trivia game you play while watching the film.
Use a few buttons on the Blu-ray controller to answer “classic” or “as if” on questions such as these:
- Was Miss Silverstone’s first feature film “Crush,” co-starring Marcia Gay Harden?
- Did Silverstone / Cher honestly not know how to correctly pronounce Haitians in an opening classroom scene?
- Has Wallce Shawn lent his vocal talents to more Pixar films than any other actor?
Quiz takers get 10 points for correct answers on a game that pulls no punches and does its best to trick a contestant with oh-so-close statements.
But wait! There’s more…
Viewers also get, ported from the 2012 release culled from the 2005 DVD “Whatever” 10th anniversary edition, roughly 60 minutes of the film’s production history broken into seven featurettes.
They cover Miss Heckerling dissecting her cast choices with comments from actors and crew; the origins of the film and TV series including the adaptation from “Emma”; fashion choices; the movie’s legacy; and a look at some unusual 1990s teen slang, including the introduction of some news words (i.e., a Baldwin is a hot guy).
Now as far as a 25th anniversary release like this, we do have questions. Was nobody really available to offer some fun memories about the film? Or why didn’t Paramount throw together a filmmaker perspective like it does with its “Paramount Presents” line?
Wrapping the package up, purchasers also score a yellow, plaid, steelbook case to hold the disc with a colorful collage of Polaroid photos from the film included inside the covers.
The only big upgrade in this disc is a code in the package enabling you to watch the film on the iTunes or Vudu streaming services.
• This story originally appeared in The Washington Times.
— Headline image: PR image: Dan Hedaya co-stars as strict but well-meaning father Melvin Horowitz in “Clueless: 25th Anniversary Edition,” now available from Paramount Home Entertainment.