The Films of 2020: Valley Girl (dir by Rachel Lee Goldenberg)


Valley Girl is a remake of the 1983 film of the same name.  The original Valley Girl was a sweet but occasionally edgy comedy that starred Deborah Foreman and, in one of his first starring roles, Nicolas Cage.  Foreman played a popular rich girl who fell in love with a quirky punk rocker (Cage, of course).  Full of interesting characters and very much attuned to what it’s like to be a teenager in love, the original Valley Girl was fun and funny but it also had a serious subtext and the film, as whole, holds up surprisingly well.

The remake of Valley Girl tells basically the same story.  Jessica Rothe plays Julie Richman.  Josh Whitehouse plays Randy.  They meet.  They fall in love.  They both have to deal with the fact that they’re from different parts of Los Angeles.  Their friends say that they don’t belong together.  The story still has potential but the remake falls flat.

A huge part of the problem is that the Valley Girl remake is a jukebox musical.  In the style of Rock of Ages, it features characters expressing themselves by singing songs from the 80s.  Like many jukebox musicals, Valley Girl picks the most obvious songs and then deploys them in the most literal way possible.  For instance, Julie’s jock boyfriend is named Mickey, just so the cheerleaders can perform Mickey during a pep rally.  When Randy and his punk friends show up for the first time, it’s time to sing Bad Reputation.  When it appears that his relationship with Julie is doomed, it’s time for Randy to offer up a rather wan version of Boys Don’t Cry.  When Julie and her friends go to the beach and start to talk about how they want have to fun …. well, can you guess what song they start singing?  The film does make good use of Kids In America but, for the most part, the song choices are too predictable and the cast performs them with a notable lack of enthusiasm.

As for the cast, Jessica Rothe has a few good moments and she at least bring some playful energy to her role.  Unfortunately, Josh Whitehouse is perhaps the least convincing punk rocker that I have ever seen.  There’s nothing quirky, angry, or dangerous about Whitehouse’s Randy.  Instead, he’s a nice young man who has some eccentric friends.  He’s the punk who you can take home to meet your parents.  He’s like the one jock who hangs out with the nerds and, as a result, everyone’s decided that he must be deeper than he actually is.

Speaking of jocks, Julie’s boyfriend — named Mickey, of course — is played by Logan Paul.  Yes, that Logan Paul.  Yes, he’s terrible in the role.  Josh Whitehouse may have not been a convincing punk rocker but Logan Paul gives a performance that’s so bad that he’s not even a convincing human being.  He comes across like an animatronic Disneyland character.  He should be in the Hall of Presidents, standing next to George Washington and stiffly nodding whenever Lincoln starts talking.  Logan Paul is a huge reason why the film doesn’t work.  He’s also a huge reason why Valley Girl sat on the shelf for about three years before finally being released, as Paul’s YouTube controversies led the studio to be weary about releasing a film featuring him.

I guess one reason why I got so annoyed with Valley Girl is that I wanted to like it.  Jessica Rothe was great in the Death Day films.  I love 80s music.  I wanted this to be a good film but it’s just not.  Like, sorry.

2 responses to “The Films of 2020: Valley Girl (dir by Rachel Lee Goldenberg)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 12/21/20 — 12/27/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2020 | Through the Shattered Lens

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