Valley Girl also makes use of Alicia Silverstone as older Julie, recounting her high school days to her rebellious daughter played by Camila Morrone as a way to reinforce the fact that her mom was once cool…like oh, my gawd! There’s also a new take on the where are they now segment that puts a twist on your typical teen romance ending.
I want to say right off the bat, that Valley Girl is a good movie, but I do have a few issues. Let’s start positive. It’s a fun movie and, for me, nostalgic as hell, as a child of the 80s. I knew every song and could sing every lyric. Also, the cast is excellent and recognizable to the younger set, like my kid. I loved seeing Chloe Bennet outside of her S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform. Mae Whitman is always fun and still looks like a teenager. Logan Paul also refuses to fight his public persona and makes good use of it. So, if you love musicals, teen romance, and the 80s, you’re going to have a blast watching Valley Girl.
“…an incredible job finding songs from the 80s and fitting them perfectly into the story.”
Here are my issues with the film. First, the original Valley Girl was a reflection of an actual time and culture coming out of the San Fernando Valley. It may not have been a true reflection of that time, but it sure felt like it. This current version? I don’t recognize it, except for music and clothes. One thing that didn’t exist in the 80s was all this diversity. Not to get too deep into it, but I don’t think Randall Park would have been a high school principal in the Valley during that time. They’re a decade too early.
My second issue is the film as a musical. I think writer Amy Talkington and the filmmakers did an incredible job finding songs from the 80s and fitting them perfectly into the story. They did their homework and could probably solve a 1000-piece puzzle in no time. Because the songs fit so well, it loses the emotional storytelling of the characters. For example, rather than showing or acting like Julie and Randy are from opposite sides of the track, they sing Madonna’s “Crazy For You” instead. While the lyrics appropriately describe their feelings, the song becomes a cheat. I don’t have to act “crazy for you,” I’ll just sing it. When you pre-record songs in a studio and give it a polished produced sound, you have no emotional flexibility, when you have to sing it on set and in the context of a love story. I believe this one fact will keep the film from becoming a classic.
That said, I still had fun with Valley Girl and will probably show it to my pre-teen so that she knows what high school for her dad was like.
"…a fun movie and, for me, nostalgic as hell..."