The thing you never fail to pick up on as your protagonist turns from "ugly duckling" to cool bean, is this: those frizzy haired chicklets are actually movie stars pretending to be social pariahs. Who can forget Anne Hathaway as the gonk with frizzy hair in The Princess Diaries? Did you buy into it? Prbs not. Remember Drew Barrymore's braces in that flashback scene in Never Been Kissed? Did you buy into it? Prbs not. But in the end you let it slide, because these movies are so damn good, cheesy makeover scenes included. Here's the best of them.
Cher Horowitz's main thrill in life is a makeover. "It gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos," explains best friend Dionne. Cher's subject? Grunge girl Tai, clad in a plaid shirt and baggy cargo pants. Red hair dye flows down a sink, eyeliner is applied, pensive faces eye-up an absurdly big wardrobe, Jill Sobule's Supermodel on full blast. Then it's done. But there's something no one saw coming. Tai becomes more popular than Cher, and it kinda goes to her head, leading to one of the most stinging insults in teen movie history. Tai glares at Cher, her eyebrows rising as she says it: "You're a virgin who can't drive". That was way harsh Tai. Way harsh.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
It's amazing what pulling a fringe back can do. Molly Ringwald's 'Princess' has the genius idea when making over Ally Sheedy's 'Basket Case' during Saturday detention. The Princess effectively turns Sheedy - a girl who makes pictures out of her own dandruff, literally - into a princess herself: prissy pink top, white bow tied up in her hair like something from a gift shop. It instantly gets the Jock's attention. Before her makeover he wasn't interested in the dark and mysterious Basket Case. Now he can barely keep his tongue in his mouth. But will they be together come Monday morning at Shermer High? Those 80s teen tribes can be ruthless.
Mean Girls (2004)
Cady Heron trades her country gal garb for skin-tight pink tops, short skirts and high heels, all to become a Plastic. She transforms with a little help from Regina George and co., as her bedroom dissolves to high school the next day. Everything is different. Of course it is. "Being with the Plastics was like being famous: people looked at you all the time." Cue close-ups of the Plastics in heels, all eyes on them, every head turning, as the girls strut through the hallway like they own the place. That is, until Cady walks head-first into a dustbin. I guess a makeover will only get you so far.
Rose McGowan, in a holier-than-thou voice: "Today, Fern my dear, fate has decided that you are cool. We're gonna make you one of us: beautiful, popular, loved, revered, all that you've ever dreamed of." This makeover isn't for a bet, but a bribe. When Fern - a geek with long mousy brown hair - discovers that the popular girls accidentally killed their best friend, she's offered the chance to become popular. That means a makeover by The Flawless Four, lead by McGowan ("Satan in heels"). And yes, she becomes popular for looking like them. You can scoff all you want but let's face it: high school is often that brutally shallow.
Though the climactic makeover of Sandy is more dramatic - a complete transformation from prissy prepster to leather-clad smoker in heels - this slumber party makeover is ten-times more fun. Booze, cigs, shoddy ear piercing, blood and puke - what's not to like! But seriously, is this not what makeovers are all about? Having fun with your mates? Sharing twinkies and learning how to "French inhale" a cigarette? For Sandy, this is the deep end of high school. For us, well, we are all Rizzo, face-palming every time we see Sandy's face.
The House Bunny (2008)
"Dressing sexy is all about skimplifying," says the sage former Playboy bunny played by Anna Faris. She's transforming the geeky girls at Zeta Alpha Zeta - including a bespectacled Emma Stone in a drab dork cardigan - into what she thinks the frat bros want. Because, hey, boys don't like smart girls or girls who don't wear skimpy outfits. You're not supposed to like this airhead - at least at first - but then she goes ahead and says the eight words that make this trashy rom-com worth watching. "The eyes are the nipples of the face." Remember that during your next makeover.
She's All That (1999)
Ah, Laney Boggs, the girl in paint-smeared dungarees who Freddie Prinze Jr describes as "scary and inaccessible". He actually said that. But that was before her transformation, before Anna Paquin had the genius idea of removing those specs and dressing her in a…dress. Cue Sixpence None The Richer's Kiss Me. The camera zooms in on Laney's red heels slowly descending the staircase, then on that red dress. Cut to Freddie Prinze Jr.'s face, his tongue unrolling on the floor in front of him. He has six weeks to make this ghastly creature prom queen. Six weeks! Can you imagine! God I love this film.
Tank Girl (1995)
There's a scene in the 90s sci-fi Tank Girl when Lorri Petty's riot grrrl of the future is made-over by a computer. She steps up to a 'glamour port' that one-ups Cher Horowitz's computerised wardrobe. She dons a nurse uniform, then a black PVC top complete with whip, then an 80s glamour dress. Then she discovers it, her final look: dog collar, safety pins, big boots and a gun? She's 10-times as punk as before. "Lock up your sons," she purrs, wearing one of many costumes designed by Madonna's stylist, Arianne Phillips.
Teen Witch (1989)
High school misfit Louise Miller discovers she has magical powers, so what does she do with them? She makes herself the most popular girl in school. Of course she does. To work her magic, she goes to her bedroom, turns up the 80s cheese on her boombox, says some mumbo jumbo while spinning in circles and - hey presto! - she's transformed. But it's probably not the best way to go about making her crush, Brad, fall in love with her. Originally pitched as the female version of Teen Wolf, Teen Witch is a glorious slice of 80s teen fantasy and a precursor to everyone's favourite teenage witch, Sabrina.
Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
"That's it. I did it. I'm a miracle worker."
Text Oliver Lunn