Reviewed By Thom
Posted 07/13/99 08:51:21

"Supercute remake of Jane Austen's 'Emma'"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Alicia Silverstones leads as the well meaning but clueless heroine in this modern interpretation of Jane Austen's novel, Emma.

Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone, she of the bitten lip, lives in the tony city of Beverly Hills in some super posh digs. Her concept of how the world works is summed up in the line, "Why learn how to parallell park when everywhere you go has Valet Parking."

She has an ex-step-brother, Josh (Paul Rudd), who is a law student, generally PC kind of guy, intellectual, idealistic who acts as the foil to Cher's rather limited conception of the world.

This, however, is a love story, not a moral tale.

The growth of the love story centers around Cher's attention to a new student, Tai, who is not from the shallow, yet monied background that Cher is from.
Cher wants to turn tai from geek to chic and introduce Tai to the privelege of prowling with the sophisticated, popular crowd. Of course, there are clothes to be bought, rules to learn, words to use, etc.

Things get wacky when Tai goes for the guy she wants naturally but is deemed "unacceptable" by the code of popularity that Cher acts as guardian of. All the while Josh looks on that pathetic, vain, shallow and utterly selfish efforts of Cher from his high moral ground. But he too, gets sucked in to Cher's ineffible, innocent, charm.

There are many sub-adventures and hilarity. Cher falls for a guy that everyone but her can see is gay. Jane Austen did not write about gay folks. But this is all just another step to her realizing that the person she is falling in love with is her ex-step-brother.

She grows up a little bit, Cher and Josh discover their attraction to each other, and the movie ends with the promise of what comes next for them. Even if she's 15 and he's in college. And her dad doesn't seem to mind.

This movie is super cute. Its full of fun outfits. The same designer designed the clothes for Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. The story itself is sound and there is some wisdom underneath all the foppery. The characters are pleasing to the eye, the dialogue engaging, all the subplots are charming.

This is a bubble-gum movie with flavor that lasts and lasts. It carefully hides its substance much the same way Cher's substance is clouded by her apparent shallowness, which it turns out is more lack of self-knowledge or a wider perspective (a clue) than it is her natural disposition.

Lots of funny scenes, endearing moments. If you like cute love stories that find a way into your romantic sentimentality, you'll like this movie.

I can't say it enough. This movie is cute, cute, cute. Whats good for you in an easily digestible form. Fun outfits, charming characters, cutesy feeling good scenes. Read "Emma" or watch the Paltrow version just before or after if you want to see how it translates Jane Austen into the 90's.

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