The Films of Amy Heckerling
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Look Who's Talking (March 6/18)
Forgettable and innocuous, Look Who's Talking follows Kirstie Alley's Mollie as she becomes pregnant with the child of her married lover (George Segal's Albert) and, after delivering a boy named Mikey, attempts to raise the kid by herself - although she eventually does receive help from a friendly (and persistent) New York City taxi driver (John Travolta's James). It's a fairly standard premise that's employed to consistently middling effect by writer/director Amy Heckerling, as the filmmaker infuses the proceedings with virtually every single convention and touchstone one might've anticipated - including, regrettably, a montage of Mollie embarking on a series of dates with unreasonably oddball individuals. The film's big gimmick, in which we hear the baby's thoughts via Bruce Willis' voiceover work, ultimately adds little to the narrative and seems to have been added purely to juice the otherwise stale proceedings, and yet Heckerling's briskly-paced and easygoing approach to her own screenplay ensures that Look Who's Talking remains, at the very least, relatively watchable throughout. It's clear that the movie's extremely mild success is due mostly to the charismatic work of its two stars, with the palpable chemistry between Alley and Travolta elevating the majority of their scenes together (although it does become increasingly difficult to swallow their predominantly platonic relationship) - which does, in the end, cement Look Who's Talking's place as a passable yet entirely unmemorable romantic comedy.
Look Who's Talking Too
Clueless (September 3/05)
Though Clueless hasn't aged all that well - something that's primarily due to Amy Heckerling's dated directorial choices - the film remains fairly entertaining and engaging throughout, thanks to several exceedingly charismatic performances and a sporadically clever screenplay (penned by Heckerling). Alicia Silverstone stars as Cher, a vapid, spoiled teenager who spends her days shopping and scheming. Her trouble free lifestyle is interrupted by the arrival of her smart and sarcastic cousin, Josh (Paul Rudd), though it's not long before the two find themselves becoming friendly with one another. Clueless boasts an impressive roster of performers - the supporting cast includes Brittany Murphy, Jeremy Sisto, and Breckin Meyer - and the light and breezy tone keeps things interesting for a while. But the film inexplicably adopts a melodramatic tone in the third act, thoroughly undermining everything that's come prior. And although the movie isn't quite the classic it's been made out to be, it's a mindlessly diverting way to kill 97 minutes.
I Could Never Be Your Woman (March 5/08)
I Could Never Be Your Woman casts Michelle Pfeiffer as Rosie, a writer/producer on a disposable teen drama who finds herself falling for the series' latest hire (Paul Rudd's Adam). Despite the rather severe difference in their respective ages - she's 40 and he's 29 - the two embark on a relationship that's fraught with precisely the sort of complications that one might've expected. That writer/director Amy Heckerling reportedly used experiences from her own life as fodder for the film's storyline is nothing short of astonishing, as I Could Never Be Your Woman has been infused with a distinctly over-the-top sensibility that effectively drains the proceedings of anything even resembling authenticity. The most obvious victim of this is Rudd, who finds himself trapped within the confines of an absurdly (and unreasonably) broad character - to such an extent that it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that Rosie would actually fall for this ill-mannered douchebag. The inclusion of several undeniably strange elements - ie Rosie's inept yet oddly manipulative secretary - only exacerbates the film's various problems, and it's ultimately not difficult to envision most of these characters (as well as the almost uniformly contrived situations) placed comfortably within the context of a garden-variety sitcom.