Amy Heckerling returns, more or less, to the scene of her Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). It's now Beverly Hills High, but it's still contemporary So-Cal youth — that's the important thing. And there are important social changes to document: "God, skateboards! That's like so five years ago!" The filmmaker's attitude is far from censorious, quite close to indulgent, even optimistic. The bubble-gum-brained heroine, deep down beneath her designer wardrobe, is really concerned with matters of form and propriety — like the Jane Austen heroine on whom she's distantly modelled. Too, she has the capacity for "growth," incremental though it may be. And with that, the movie overall edges incrementally ahead of the average youth comedy. Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Wallace Shawn. (1995) — Duncan Shepherd
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