1990’s romantic comedies have taught many of us 20 something’s valuable life lessons involving relationships, sex and career goals. None more so than 1995 classic ‘Clueless’, Clueless follows the opulent teenage life of Cher, who describes herself as having ‘a way normal life’. There’s nothing more normal than shopping at Christian Dior and giving the new girl/loser a makeover.
Cher is the classic Queen B but her refreshing optimism and lack of social realism makes the movie the gem that it is. Clueless has taught us many lessons such as respecting the fact that not everyone will like you or the classic ‘he’s just not that into you’. Cher haplessly aims to make the resident prince charming Christian her boyfriend but no such luck, to Cher’s discovery, there are always other people that will be attracted to you and they will find a way to be with you.
Cher also boasts a long lost lifestyle that in my opinion should be brought back: Learn a new word every day and try to incorporate it into a sentence that day, do an hour of a workout DVD, read one non-intelligent book a day (in a students case, a book that isn’t in your syllabus) and finally eating healthy and making yourself happy.What makes the movie so charming is that most female viewers want to inhabit that lifestyle; they want to dress nicely, be popular and desired by men and have the world at their feet.
One popular theme that links together with 1999 diamond ’10 things I hate about you’ is the sanctity of keeping your virginity and not being pressured into anything you haven’t consented to. Julia Stiles brash character Kat Stratford comments to her little sister Bianca that since she lost her virginity that she would never ‘do something just because everyone else is doing it’. 10 things I hate about you is a smart and witty adaption of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, new kid Cameron (Joseph Gorden-Levitt) wants to date Bianca Stratford but her bizarrely strict father will only let her date if her sister Kat dates too. The handsome and late, great Heath Ledger must woo Kat by prom time so Bianca can date a guy of her choice.
It is the typical ‘I didn’t know I was going to fall for you’ plot but it cultivates the entertaining theme of American high school life. Kat dreams of starting her own band and her relationship with Patrick, however fragile overcomes all and inspires the audience to not give into the popular gang, they’re not always all that.
But Rachel Leigh Cook’s ‘She’s all that’ characters Laney is. In hindsight, Laney might seem a little unsympathetic at times considering her ‘before the makeover’ look is still ten times better than most of us on a good day. She remains resilient against Freddie Prinze Jr’s charms much like Kat with Patrick. The running theme throughout is to laugh in the face of the popular gang because there is more to life than peer pressure and extreme makeovers.
As soon as we enter they year 2000, flop Down to You is released with both Julia Stiles and Freddie Prinze Jr. who can’t replicate the success of their previous 90’s rom coms. The male protagonist tries to commit suicide and his toxic relationship is more is depressing than romantic. But then romance isn’t always romantic, 65% it is depressing. 2009 Bride Wars can attest to this, as it’s more of a farce than a light-hearted inspiration, it aims to be funny and girlish but it only fleshes out the negative aspects of female friendships.
Women should be supporting each other and strengthening their esteem not breaking them down due to jealousy and their own insecurity. Most viewers watching will have likely thrown their popcorn at the screen or their remote at the TV half way through as although anyone’s wedding day is important it doesn’t really matter what colour hair you have as long as you marry the person you love. It’s a shame that you have to sit through 89 minutes of the film just to figure that out though.
In essence rom coms weren’t always the dreaded genre that they are today, thanks to 2010 ‘The Bounty Hunter’, which can’t level up to 90’s amazement Notting Hill or ‘Four weddings and a funeral’. The only one that has come close is Bridget Jones Diary (2001), which gets the ‘Most relatable, girl about town’ award for romantic comedies.