Archive for Donald Faison

Revisited: Clueless

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is a good-natured but superficial girl who is attractive, popular, and extremely wealthy. A few months shy of her sixteenth birthday, she has risen to the top of the high-school social scene, and is happy and self-assured in her insular, fashion-obsessed world. She lives in a Beverly Hills mansion with her father Melvin (Dan Hedaya), a ferocious $500-an-hour litigator; her mother has long since died, having succumbed to complications while undergoing liposuction surgery. Cher’s best friend is Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), who is also rich, pretty, and hip, and understands what it’s like to be envied.

Among the few people to find much fault with Cher is Josh (Paul Rudd), her socially conscious ex-stepbrother who visits during a break from college. Josh and Cher spar continually but without malice; she refers to him as “granola breath” and mocks his scruffy idealism, while he teases her for being selfish, vain, and superficial, and says that her only direction in life is “toward the mall.”

Illustrating that Cher’s selfishness is usually innocent and relatively harmless, Cher plays matchmaker for two lonely, nerdy, hard-grading teachers, Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) and Miss Geist (Twink Caplan). She achieves her ostensible purpose—to make them relax their grading standards so she can renegotiate a bad report card—but when she sees their newfound happiness, she realizes she actually enjoys doing good deeds. Cher now decides that the ultimate way she can give back to the community would be to “adopt” a “tragically unhip” new girl at school, Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy). Cher and Dionne give Tai a makeover and initiate her into the mysteries of popularity. Cher also tries to extinguish the strong mutual attraction between Tai and Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer), an amiable skateboarding slacker, and to steer her toward Elton (Jeremy Sisto), a rich snob whose father is a music-industry executive.

Her second matchmaking scheme backfires when Elton rejects Tai and makes a play for Cher. Matters worsen when Cher’s “project” works a bit too well and Tai’s popularity begins to surpass Cher’s, especially after Tai has a “near-death” misadventure at the mall that helps to skyrocket her to fame at school. Other classmates, including Dionne’s and Cher’s longtime rival Amber (Elisa Donovan), soon gravitate toward Tai, and Cher finds herself demoted from queen to courtier at high school.

Events reach crisis stage after Cher fails her driver’s test and can’t “renegotiate” the result. When Cher returns home, crushed, Tai confides that she’s taken a fancy to Josh and wants Cher to help her “get” him. Cher says she doesn’t think Josh is right for Tai, and they quarrel. Cher, left all alone, begins to think she has created a monster in her own image. Feeling “totally clueless,” she reflects on her priorities and her repeated failures to understand or appreciate the people in her life. Most of all, she keeps thinking about Josh and Tai, and wonders why she cares so much.

After much soul searching (which includes a solo shopping spree around various Beverly Hills boutiques), Cher realizes she has fallen in love with Josh. She begins making awkward but sincere efforts to live a more purposeful life, even captaining the school’s Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. A scene near the end of the film finds Cher and Josh stumbling over how to admit their mutual feelings for one another, culminating in a tender kiss on the stairs of her home.

The film has a happy Hollywood ending for Cher: Mr. Hall and Miss Geist get married; her friendships with Tai and Dionne are reaffirmed and solidified; Tai and Travis are in love; and now, in Josh’s arms, she too has finally found love.

REVIEW:

Every decade has that film that embodies everything (good or bad) about that time. For the 90s, it was Clueless, although some people have made the case for Mallrats and a handful of other flicks. You have to make the decision for yourself what your quintessential 90s films is.

What is this about?

Director Amy Heckerling’s fresh adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma follows the misadventures of meddlesome Beverly Hills high schooler Cher, who gets more than she bargained for when she gives a fashion-challenged student a makeover.

What did I like?

Slinging the slang. Many of the terms that we used in the 90s were popularized in this films. Terms such as “as if”, “jeeping”, etc. Also, terms that we, at least I, wasn’t familiar with were brought to the forefront, such as “Baldwin”, “surfin’ the crimson wave”, etc. The fact that one little film can have such a profound effect on the culture of the time and, for the most part, stay relevant today is dumbfounding, especially considering how many films of this nature are now nothing more than trips down nostalgia.

Emma. The plot of this film is very loosely based on the Jane Austen novel, Emma. Now, my only knowledge of that literary work is that it exists and was a film from around this same time, give or take a couple of years. So, after a brief conversation with one of more well-read friends, it turns out that some of the characters are obvious references to the literary counterparts and not too far removed, in terms of personality and fitting into modern day society. Be not fooled, though, similar is not the same. Still, the fact that they do have some roots in their origin and didn’t totally throw it out the window is something to be acknowledged, if you ask me.

Ageless. Much like the slang in this film, the music takes you back to this era. I myself have an urge right now to go put on a flannel shirt and doc martens and listen to some grunge. Yeah, I was one of those kids back in high school. Speaking of high school. Next year, this film will be 20 yrs old and 3 of its stars, Alicia Silverstone, Donald Faison, and especially Stacey Dash must be bathing in the fountain of youth because they don’t look much different than they did when they were filming this.

What didn’t I like?

Consequences. Taking into account that there is nothing serious about this very bright film, Alicia Silverstone’s character is attacked by her ride home after the party. Well, not really attacked, but he did try something with her. What bothers me about this is that it is never brought up. They see him again at another party and nothing is said and when Brittany Murphy’s character is infatuated with him (one of the many boys she goes through, might I add), nothing is said. I don’t know, to me it just seems like there should have been a warning that he might do that, or someone getting informed, etc.

Tai. Ok, so a wide-eyed girl white girl from Detroit is named Tai. How is this possible. I wonder if this wasn’t just a case of the casting directors liking Brittany Murphy’s innocent look. Personally, I prefer in this than to anything else she did in her career. Damn her becoming a skeleton like the rest of Hollywood. R.I.P. Brittany. On to my point, she goes through this rather weird, and somewhat forced for time purposes, personality change. It would seem that it was spurred on by the near death experience she has in the mall. Out of nowhere, in the final scenes, she’s back to where she was when we first met her, even apparently with the guy she was crushing on when she first got to the school. I just felt her character could have and did deserve better than to be rushed into what can almost be called mood swings.

Hot for teacher. Early on in the film, there is a pretty big emphasis on getting two teachers hooked up. After that, we see them a couple of times, and the female teacher has a line in the final scenes, but that’s it. I bring this up, because I recall them being a bigger part of the TV version, but here they just seem like an afterthought once they get together (excluding the wedding).

Anyone who was not an old fogey in the 90s has seen Clueless. As I have already said, this is one of the go-to quintessential flicks of that time. This is quite the fun and funny film complete with great characters, bright colors, and a short runtime. Do I recommend this fine film? With an emphatic yes! There is no reason to not check this out, unless you’re just some eternally depressed goth kid that hates any and everything, otherwise I highly recommend this as a film to check out before you die!

5 out of 5 stars

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Kick-Ass 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Dave Lizewski, bored after having retired from fighting crime as Kick-Ass, begins training with Mindy Macready to become a proper hero. Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico and his mother argue over the death of his father. Frustated, Chris kicks the tanning bed his mother is using, causing it collapse on Chris’ mother, killing her. Now with control over his family’s money, Chris reinvents himself as supervillain the Motherfucker and swears vengeance on Kick-Ass.

Mindy’s guardian, Marcus, discovers she is still fighting crime and makes her promise to give it up. Dave’s girlfriend, Katie Deauxma, has noticed Dave behaving strangely and breaks up with him, believing he is cheating on her with Mindy. Kick-Ass joins the superhero team Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes; it includes Battle Guy (Dave’s friend, Marty), Dr. Gravity, Insect Man, Night-Bitch, and the parents of a missing child named Tommy. The team starts out working at soup kitchens and patrolling the streets before taking on the larger task of shutting down a brothel. Kick-Ass begins a relationship with Night Bitch, and he and Marty try to get their friend Todd involved with heroics, but instead alienate him by calling his chosen identity, Ass Kicker, a copy of Kick-Ass.

Mindy tries leading a normal life. Brooke, one of the popular girls, suggests Mindy try out for the dance team at school, but when Mindy wows the audience with her audition, Brooke is unhappy. Dave tries to convince Hit-Girl to join Justice Forever, but she refuses, and promptly asks a boy to take her on a date. The date ends up as a cruel prank, leaving Mindy abandoned in the forest to walk home alone. Dave consoles the tearful Mindy and encourages her to beat the mean girls at their own game. The next day, Mindy does so with verbal put-downs and a crowd-control shock baton, resulting in her suspension from school. Meanwhile, Mr. Lizewski discovers Dave is Kick-Ass after finding his superhero costume in his room.

The Motherfucker assembles a gang of supervillains and establishes an underground lair. He finds Colonel Stars and Stripes and has Mother Russia, a massive Russian ex-con and former KGB agent, decapitate him before taunting Justice Forever on Twitter. He then tracks down Night-Bitch and attempts to rape her. When police arrive, Mother Russia kills all 10 officers, resulting in a police clampdown on both costumed villains and vigilantes. When the police track Dave through his IP address, Dave’s protective father claims he, not Dave, is Kick-Ass.

The Motherfucker, unconvinced the real Kick-Ass has been caught, learns from Todd, who had inadvertently joined the Motherfucker’s group, that the man identified as being Kick-Ass is actually his father. The Motherfucker has Mr. Lizewski killed in jail and sends a photograph to Dave, revealing his true identity as Chris D’Amico. Grief-stricken, Dave vows to never put on the Kick-Ass costume again, as he had promised his father. At the funeral, the Motherfucker’s gang ambushes and kidnap Dave.

Mindy pursues their fleeing van, killing all but one of its occupants, rescuing Dave, and convincing him to confront the Motherfucker. Dave and his superhero friends attack the villain’s lair where they are preparing to have Kick-Ass fed to a shark. While Kick-Ass fights the Motherfucker, Hit-Girl struggles against Mother Russia. Hit-Girl tricks Mother Russia into injecting her with a syringe of adrenaline. This gives her the strength to kill Mother Russia with shards of glass. Fighting on a rooftop, the Motherfucker falls through a skylight, but Kick-Ass grabs him. The Motherfucker refuses help and falls, landing in his own shark tank where he is mauled. Later on, Justice Forever decide to give up their superhero duties for good.

Mindy takes Dave home on her motorcycle and tells him that since she is wanted for murder she is leaving New York. She tells him he is now the superhero the city needs, and kisses him before departing. Dave accepts the responsibility and begins training and upgrading his equipment.

In a post-credits scene, the Motherfucker screams from a hospital bed for water. He shouts that his legs and genitalia were bitten off and is barely able to move.

REVIEW:

I have to say that I am suffering from a bit of sequelitis. There have been way too many of them to hit the theaters lately, and it is just taking its toll on my psyche. However, I just finished Kick-Ass 2 and my opinion may have changed…possibly. I do have another sequel on tap for the day.

What is this about?

In this sequel, high school superhero Kick-Ass has to find a new crime-fighting partner after Hit Girl is suddenly taken out of action. He joins another superhero team and is soon locked in battle with a supervillain bent on vengeance.

What did I like?

Violence. What can I say, I am a fan of senseless violence, which this film has plenty. Lots of blood is she in the fights, eyes are pokes out, hands cut off, etc. It was glorious! True, it may not be for everyone, but this a film called Kick-Ass and the main villain is The Motherfucker. Do you really expect anything less?

Stars and Striped forever. Jim Carrey, regardless of what he said before this film was released, gives a great performance as Colonel Stars and Stripes. The Colonel is not the typical Carrey character, as he is violent and somewhat serious. Someone said this is almost as if Carrey’s character from The Cable Guy cosplayed as Captain America or Sgt. Slaughter. If you think about the insanity of this thought, it makes sense. What is even more impressive about Col. Stars and Stripes is that he makes such an impression for only being in a few early scenes.

Take a hit. In the original Kick-Ass, there was a big controversy over young Chloe Moertz. Since then, she has gone on to become a beautiful and very talented actress that has shown a mature and diverse range in the projects she chooses. Returning to this franchise has allowed her to develop this character more than what we got in the first film, as well as her chemistry with Kick-Ass. The camaraderie between the two is amazing and will leave you wanting more.

What didn’t I like?

Put your shirt on. I have become fond of the show Arrow, but my biggest gripe about it is that they seem to go out of their way to show him without a shirt on. Do girls really go that crazy for a guy doing one arm pull-up with no shirt on? Ok, I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with anything, right? Well, it is quite simple really. There comes a time when an actor outgrows a role. For instance, Jessica Biel can’t exactly go back to being the innocent Mary Camden on 7th Heaven (the early seasons before she spiraled out of control). Well, Aaron Taylor Johnson has become a big actor since the first film. No longer is he the skinny dweeb that Kick-Ass is supposed to be. Now he is a buff dude with a 6 pack (capable of doing one arm pull-up as we see in the final shot). Maybe they should think of calling Michael Cera to replace him if they make a third film.

In Mother Russia. So, this league of supervillains that is put together has a muscle-bound woman who is actually given more screentime than all the rest of them, except for Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s The Motherfucker. What is my problem with her? Well, everytime I saw her, I couldn’t help but think of the Rocky movie with Bridgette Nielsen, and expected Dolph Lundgren to pop up somewhere. This woman is built like a truck, with abs of steel, and she sticks out in comparison to the others. Her fight with Hit Girl was entertaining, but it felt like she should have had at least a confrontation with Night-Bitch.

Too many cooks in the kitchen. An important part of this plot is the addition of the other superheroes (and villains), but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Even with the first members of the two factions, there just wasn’t enough development. For instance, Col. Stars and Stripes was apparently a gangster who worked for the Motherfucker’s father at one time. That would have been an interesting backstory to get into, but instead we learn about the married couple’s fight for justice, and none of the others. That was really a waste of space, if you ask me. To put this in the best way possible, it was like Justice League Unlimited. They brought in all these characters, but never used most of them as anything more than extras who may get a line here or there.

In a quick summation, Kick-Ass 2 kicks ass! Although I don’t recall much of the first film, I’m sure I will be remembering this one for some time. This isn’t all about superhero violence, though. There are some heartfelt, touching scenes and a comical Mean Girls style sequence in which Hit Girl gets her revenge without killing anyone. I laughed at the sheer comedic aspect it brought, not to mention it made Hit Girl seem human. There are little tidbits like that all throughout this film that make it a worthwhile watch. I very highly recommend this, so check it out!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Skyline

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert):

Jarrod (Eric Balfour), an artist, and his girlfriend Elaine (Scottie Thompson) have flown to Los Angeles for Jarrod’s best friend Terry’s (Donald Faison) birthday party. They spend the night celebrating with Terry’s girlfriend, Candice (Brittany Daniel), and his assistant, Denise (Crystal Reed). During the party, one of Terry’s employees, Ray (Neil Hopkins), welcomes Jarrod to L.A., thinking he has moved there to join Terry’s special effects company. During a private argument about whether or not they should move to L.A., Elaine reveals that she is pregnant.

Early the next morning, bright blue lights descend from the sky, entrancing anyone who looks at them. The light turns their eyes milky white and makes blood vessels stand out on the skin. Captive in the light, immobilized humans are taken up by the machines. Ray suffers this fate, but Jarrod is saved when Terry tackles him. Jarrod returns to normal shortly after. He and Terry decide to investigate the light from the roof of the highrise, where they see several alien ships descend over the blue lights and vacuum up thousands of entranced people. Locked out on the roof, they are almost captured by flying machines, but Elaine opens the door from inside. She is temporarily mesmerized, but Jarrod saves her.

Back in the apartment Jarrod argues that open water would be a safer place than Terry’s condo since there are no machines over the sea, so they attempt to reach the marina by car, splitting into two groups: Terry and Denise in one car, Candice, Jarrod, and Elaine in the other. On the way out they meet an arguing couple, Colin (J. Paul Boehmer) and Jen (Tanya Newbould), also attempting to flee the building. Terry’s car is the first to leave, but is stomped flat in the exit by a massive walking lifeform. Denise is killed, but Terry escapes. As he attempts to flee into the garage, he is abducted. The survivors flee into the garage where they encounter a squid-like lifeform and it takes Colin. It corners the rest of the group, then suddenly the building’s concierge, Oliver (David Zayas), slams into it with an SUV. Colin is still alive inside the ‘squid.’ As Jen and Oliver attempt to free him, the machine comes to life again, sucks out Colin’s brain, which glows blue, and inserts the organ into its head. As the five flee back into the building, Jen is quickly abducted.

The next day, the United States Air Force launches an attack on the spaceships using drone aircraft. Only one stealth drone gets through, and launches a nuclear-tipped missile at the largest ship. The detonation rips the ship apart and it falls, but as the mushroom cloud later clears it then slowly begins to repair itself. Each part of the fallen ship acts in accordance with all others, further blurring the distinction between machine and lifeform. After telling only Elaine that the mesmerizing light made him feel powerful and that he still has that power, Jarrod becomes adamant that safety must be found outside. Oliver wants to stay in and tries to restrain him. Jarrod’s eyes turn milky and his veins start to show again: he lifts Oliver off the floor one-handed. He vows that no one will stop him from protecting his family.

Military helicopters come in and insert squads of marines. Jarrod and Elaine go to the roof hoping to ride a helicopter to safety. Oliver and Candice still hide in the penthouse, but they are found. Candice accidentally exposes herself to the blue light and is absorbed; Oliver sacrifices himself in an attempt to kill a machine, but does not succeed. The army is thrown off the roof by the aliens and one of the small machine/lifeforms attacks Jarrod and Elaine. Together, they kill it, but with Jarrod badly hurt, both are hopelessly trapped when the aliens have defeated the military and begin approaching them. Resigned to their fate, they look up into the blue light, embrace and are sucked up.

A brief montage shows that cities such as New York City, London, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas have all been attacked and there seems to be no stopping the invasion. Inside the alien spacecraft, Elaine wakes up in an eerie blue gloom on a gory pile of lifeless human bodies. Tubes are sucking human brains into machine husks with humanoid exterior, animating them; probes go through the pile looking for what they can find. Elaine sees Jarrod in the pile but has to watch helplessly as his brain is removed from his body. She herself is spared when a probe finds that she is pregnant. Elaine is transported to another chamber where all the pregnant human women are being sent and Jarrod’s brain, glowing red in all of the blue, is inserted into a humanoid.

Animating the alien body, Jarrod seems to retain control, and comes to the aid of Elaine and their unborn child. The movie ends with a series of still images between the credits that depict “Jarrod” protecting Elaine and their child from other aliens. Eventually “Jarrod” defeats them, picks his girlfriend up, and runs off with her.

REVIEW:

Last fall, I saw previews and trailers for this film and debated whether or not it was worth the time/money to go see. After watching it this afternoon, I’m almost certain I made the right choice.

Skyline is another in a long history of films about alien invasions. This one, though, seems to be more along the thriller/suspense end of the spectrum.

The plot is basically this couple goes out to L.A. to visit an old high school friend. While there aliens invade and start snatching up people. As with any good (or bad) film of this ilk, the main characters have to investigate, resulting in the eventual death of at least one of them. The film end aboard the aliens spacecraft. No, there really isn’t much that really happens in between there, other than a bunch of running around, abducting, killing, and screaming at each other.

You know the phrase “style over substance”? Yeah, it doesn’t apply here.

The effects are something pretty to look at. I mean, come on, shiny lights all over the place, but if you’re going to use a ton of CG like that, there better be a good story to back it up, which there wasn’t.

I have to mention the ending. There is this final scene that takes place aboard the alien ship that was somewhat cool, it seemed more like something that should have been reserved for DVD extras. I have to question what they were thinking when they put that in there, seriously.

The cast is composed of actors you’d get for a direct-to-DVD feature. Yet another reason to be wary of this flick, if you ask me. I mean, if Donald Faison (best known as Turk from Scrubs) is the biggest name in your picture, something is off…no offense to Faison.

There are plenty of alien invasion flicks around. Almost all of them are infinitely better than this one. Skyline succeeds only in showing how to film blue lights and create weirs brain snatching CG monsters, nothing else. It is no wonder this film was easily forgotten. Chances are that by the time I spell check and post this entry, I’ll have forgotten it as well. So, should you go see it? Well, I don’t think its bad enough to totally avoid, but just rent it, don’t go out and buy the DVD or Blu-Ray. There are plenty of other things you could waste your money on!

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Next Day Air

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2009 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

When a misguided delivery driver inadvertently delivers a package containing concealed bricks of cocaine to the wrong address, it sets in motion a desperate search and battle for the coke between the furious dealer that sent it, the fearful intended recipients that missed it, and the conniving accidental recipients that plan to flip it. Time is running out and everyone’s trying to get their hands on the package that’s been sent…Next Day Air!

REVIEW:

Hmmm…a delivery driver, who happens to be high, delivers a package of cocaine to the wrong people, who find out what it is and try to sell it, while the intended owners are about to lose their life if they don’t find it. The plot is so generic that I almost didn’t even bother with this film.

The cast that they put together for this film isn’t necessarily a group of comedy all-stars, but rather a bunch of sidekick actors, for lack of a better term, getting their shot at the big time. unfortunately, none of them step up in the way one would expect. Mike Epps is his usual character, a little slow off the take. Donald Faison doesn’t seem to know if he’s coming or going, and aside from his scenes with Debbie Allen and Mos Def, seems to be rather whiny throughout the entre picture. Speaking of Mos Def, he is arguably the biggest name in here, but is only in two or three scenes. I don’t understand that.

The way the trailers made this film look, it was like this was going to be some sort of buddy film where they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That might actually have been better that what ended up.

Please don’t misunderstand me and think that this thing totally sucks, because it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, listening to Mike Epps and Wood Harris’ exchanges was quite entertaining, as was Mos Def’s explanation for stealing stuff from his own truck.

Many reviews I’ve read have said exactly what I was thinking as I was watching it, and that is that it can’t decide if it wasn’t to be an action/comedy or gritty action drama. Because of this, the film really suffers. I think if they would have had a more definitive direction they wanted to go in, this would be much better, but it still is worth watching, though I wouldn’t necessarily rush out to see it, unless you want to feast on eye candy Yasmin Deliz.

3 out of 5 stars

Clueless

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

Plot:

A witty update of Jane Austen’s 1816 novel Emma, the film tells the story of Cher Horowitz, a good-natured Valley girl-type (she actually lives in Beverly Hills and is quite out of her element in a sequence that takes place in the Valley).

Cher is attractive, popular, and rich. At a few months shy of sixteen, she has risen to the top of the high school social scene and is happy and self-assured in her insular, fashion-obsessed world. She lives in a Beverly Hills mansion with her father, a ferocious $500-an-hour litigator; her mother is long dead, having succumbed to complications while undergoing liposuction. Cher’s best friend is Dionne, who is also rich, pretty and hip and understands what it’s like to be envied.

Among the few people to find much fault with Cher is Josh, her altruistic, intellectual ex-stepbrother who visits during a break from college. Josh and Cher spar continually but without malice; she refers to him as “granola breath” and mocks his scruffy idealism, while he teases her for being selfish and superficial and says her only direction in life is “toward the mall”.

This makes Cher want to prove that she, too, has a social conscience. First, she plays matchmaker for two lonely, nerdy, hard-grading teachers, Mr. Hall and Miss Geist. She achieves her original purpose – to make them relax their grading standards so she can renegotiate a bad report card – but when she sees their new-found happiness she realizes she likes doing good deeds. Cher now decides that the ultimate way she can give back to the community would be to “adopt” a “tragically unhip” new girl at school, Tai Frasier. Cher and Dionne give Tai a makeover and initiate her into the mysteries of popularity. Cher also tries to extinguish the strong mutual attraction between Tai and Travis, an amiable skateboarding slacker, and to steer her toward Elton, a rich snob.

Her second matchmaking scheme backfires when Elton rejects Tai and makes a play for Cher. Matters worsen, however, when Cher’s “project” works a bit toowell and Tai’s popularity begins to surpass Cher’s, especially after Tai has a “near-death” adventure at the mall that helps to skyrocket her to fame at school. Other classmates, including Dionne and Cher’s longtime rival classmate Amber, soon gravitate toward Tai, and Cher finds herself demoted from queen to courtier at high school.

Meanwhile, Cher has a couple of romantic mishaps with boys at school. The first involves Elton; the next concerns Christian, a handsome classmate with great fashion sense who turns out to be gay. Cher naively and repeatedly fails to understand Christian’s hints that he prefers the same sex, and tries unsuccessfully to seduce him while they are alone one night watching Spartacus. The next day, Dionne’s boyfriend, roaring with laughter, makes her mistake clear to her at last.

Events reach a crisis after Cher fails her driver’s test and can’t “renegotiate” the result. When Cher goes home, crushed, Tai – now dressed exactly like Cher – confides that she’s taken a fancy to Josh and wants Cher to help her “get” him. Cher says she doesn’t think Josh is right for her, and they quarrel. Cher, left all alone, begins to think she has created a monster in her own image. Feeling “totally clueless”, she reflects on her off-kilter priorities and her repeated failures to understand or appreciate the people in her life. Most of all, she keeps thinking about Josh and Tai, and wonders why she cares so much.

After much soul-searching (which includes a one-woman shopping spree around various Beverly Hills boutiques), Cher discovers she has fallen in love with Josh. She begins making awkward but sincere efforts to live a more useful life, even captaining the school’s Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. A scene near the end of the film finds Cher and Josh stumbling over how to admit their mutual feelings for each other, finally culminating in a tender kiss on the steps of her father’s mansion.

The film has a happy Hollywood ending for Cher: her two nerdy teachers at school get married; her friendships with Tai and Dionne are reaffirmed; Tai and Travis are in love; and, in Josh’s arms, she too has now finally found love and meaning in her teenage life.

Review:

As much as I love the 80s, the 90s weren’t half bad either. This movie showcases all that was right (and wrong) with the early part of that decade. It also was the first major showcase for Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Donald Faison, Stacey Dash, and a slightly larger Brittany Murphy.

I don’t really have anything negative to say about this movie, other than Cher seemed hell bent on driving Tai away from Travis because she thinks Elton would be better for her. This annoys me to no end, because it makes her seem even more shallow than she should have been. Luckily, it all worked out in the end.

This another good family movie. Of course, if you’re not a fan of the 90s or movies that are loosely based on Shakespere plays, you won’t care for it. I’m not one of those people, though, so I loved it!

4 stars out of 5