Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Heckerling's first film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), about Los Angeles teenagers, was praised for the strong female characters played by Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and others. (The film also led to a short-lived series on NBC in the 1985-1986 season which Heckerling produced.) Heckerling's next film was a parody of gangster films, Johnny Dangerously (1984), starring Michael Keaton, Marilu Henner, and Joe Piscopo, with fast talking characters familiar from 1930s screwball comedy. She directed the second of the National Lampoon vacation films, National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) with Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo.
She again had a massive hit with Look Who's Talking (1989), which starred John Travolta and Kirstie Alley raising a baby voiced by Bruce Willis. It was corny and many critics panned it, but it pleased audiences enough to warrant a sequel, Look Who's Talking Too (1990), which Heckerling also directed.
Heckerling directed and co-wrote, with Twink Caplan , an adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, putting the story in another mythical Los Angeles high school, to produce Clueless (1995). In addition to making Alicia Silverstone a star, it was another box office hit. It would be another five years before Heckerling produced Loser (2000), a dark college comedy with Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari. It was not successful at the box office.
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