Cast of characters

The film's central characters are:

  • Alicia Silverstone as Cherilyn "Cher" Horowitz: A sweet but spoiled Valley Girl type―Though she actually lives in Beverly Hills. Living in a mansion, waited on by servants, and flaunting her wealth with fashion, she's the undisputed queen of Bronson Alcott High School. She has long blonde hair and blue eyes. Cher is also tough and clever, like her father Mel. Cher convinces two of her teachers that each is a secret admirer of the other, negotiating her way from a C+ average to an A- average. Cher doesn't have a regular boyfriend and she describes finding a boyfriend in high school as "being as pointless as looking for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie." She is based on the character Emma Woodhouse.
  • Stacey Dash as Dionne Davenport: Cher's best friend. Both she and Cher are rich and beautiful, but caring. Cher uses Dionne as her number one fashion critic. Dionne and boyfriend Murray have an extremely tumultuous relationship and are often quarreling (an inversion of the idealized relationship between Austen's Isabella and John Knightley). They undergo spats about Murray shaving his head and Dionne finding "cheap polyester hair" in the backseat of his car, but they also bond over Dionne's first driving experience on the freeway, inspiring a wistful admiration in Cher.
  • Brittany Murphy as Tai Frasier: The ugly duckling transformed into the beautiful swan. Cher and Dionne decide to give her a makeover. With a change of hair, makeup and clothing, Tai gains confidence and a sense of style. Originally Tai fell for skater Travis, but Cher tried to set up Tai with "it boy" Elton to boost her popularity. After a "near-death experience" at the mall, Tai obtains an overly confident attitude that ultimately poses a threat to Cher's social status. She also develops a crush on Josh, and asks Cher to help her get him. By the end of the film, Tai regains Cher's respect and friendship, and begins to date Travis. This was Murphy's first major film role. She is based on the Emma character Harriet Smith.
  • Paul Rudd as Josh Lucas: Cher's ex-stepbrother, as Mel had been married to Josh's mother five years earlier. Josh has ambitions to be a lawyer (his focus is environmental law), and during a college break comes for a protracted visit with Cher and her father at their house; he claims that being around Mel is a "great learning experience." Throughout the film, Josh teases Cher, but at the same time shows his caring and concern for her. He is based on the Emma character George Knightley.
  • Dan Hedaya as Melvin "Mel" Horowitz: A gruff and successful workaholic litigator, he is constantly involved in big cases in Beverly Hills, where he lives with his teenage daughter Cher. Despite being divorced from Josh's mother, he tells his daughter "You divorce wives, not children" and is very protective of Cher, warning Christian: "If anything happens to my daughter, I've got a .45 and a shovel. I doubt anybody would miss you." He is based on the Emma character Mr. Henry Woodhouse.
  • Elisa Donovan as Amber Mariens: A popular spoiled brat who is despised by Cher and Dionne; she is in constant competition with Cher when it comes to style, popularity, and boys. Cher dubs her a "Monet" (just like the painting, "from far away it's okay, but up close it's a big old mess.") She is based on the Emma character Augusta Elton.
  • Justin Walker as Christian Stovitz: Cher's love interest. To catch Christian's attention, Cher sends herself flowers, candies, and love notes. Christian finally attends a party with Cher. Cher plans a big night to finally "do it" with Christian, but he ignores her advances. It is later revealed that that is because he is not interested in girls. He is based on the Emma character Frank Churchill.
Other characters
  • Wallace Shawn as Mr. Wendell Hall, he is based on the Emma character Mr. Weston.
  • Twink Caplan as Ms. Geist, she is based on the Emma character Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston.
  • Julie Brown as Coach Millie Stoeger
  • Donald Faison as Murray Duvall: Dionne's long-term boyfriend
  • Breckin Meyer as Travis Birkenstock, he is based on the Emma character Robert Martin.
  • Jeremy Sisto as Elton Tiscia, he is based on the Emma character Philip Elton.
  • Nicole Bilderback as Summer

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