“On the surface, Amy Heckerling’s 90s spin on Jane Austen’s novel Emma appears to be merely another frothy coming-of-age flick. Scratch below the shiny exterior, though, and what emerges is something altogether more clever, as much a sharp, satirical parody of the affluent as it is hip, sassy entertainment dressed in designer labels.

“Alicia Silverstone plays Cher, 15 years old going on 35, daughter of a widowed, irascible but loaded lawyer and blessed with beauty and popularity superseded only by the enormity of her wardrobe. For her, life is a stream of shopping, gossiping on a mobile phone with best friend Dionne, and using her assets to be top dog at school.

“However, while her head may be a vacuum, her heart is in the right place and she endeavours to do good wherever she sees fit: first by uniting two single, lonely teachers; and second by transforming new student Tai from dumpy hippy to LA airhead. Only when it transpires that Cher might have sacrificed her own happiness (and potential romantic entanglements) at everybody else’s expense does her carefree world come crashing in around her.

“Silverstone, complete with pseudo-philosophical voice-overs and a frenetic lexicon of teen dialect has just the right amount of dizzy charm to carry off lead duties. A spoiled brat her character may be, but a loveable one all the same. And the conclusion, obvious as it is, is heart-warming.

“Thoroughly entertaining as well as being delightfully clever. (but “not too clever!) - Empire Magazine


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