The forbidden love story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has repeatedly been the inspiration for romance films. In 1983, the romance between two people who come from different backgrounds was adapted independently in a film called Valley Girl.
Valley Girl (1983) became a box office hit that attracted moviegoers at that time, especially teenagers in the United States. Reflecting on the success of this classic romance film, it's no wonder that thirty-seven years later, a remake version was made.
Orion Classics together with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sneak Preview Productions released this modern version of Valley Girl on May 8, 2020. This film tries to represent the nuances of its predecessor by packaging its story in the 80s era setting.
The 102-minute film is directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, based on a script written by Amy Talkington. Included in the cast of this film are Jessica Rothe, Alicia Silverstone, Josh Whitehouse, Mae Whitman, Jessie Ennis, Chloe Bennet, Ashleigh Murray, and Logan Paul.
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Julie Richman tells the story of her youth, Ruby, who is feeling uncertain about the phase of her life. Young Julie is a girl from "The Valley", a nickname for the well-established people who live in the Los Angeles valley area. The girl has everything in life, caring family and friends, as well as a famous athlete boyfriend.
Julie then meets Randy, a punk kid from the Hollywood area with a completely different background from her. Even though their relationship was rejected by the surrounding community, Julie wanted to see more of the other side of the world that she never knew with Randy.
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Although still taking the 80s background like the original film, Valley Girl offers a number of major changes from many aspects. The most notable difference between this remake version of Valley Girl (1983) is the musical format it carries.
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However, don't imagine Valley Girl will carry the same impression that La La Land (2016) left. If La La Land is filled with catchy original songs and performed authentically, Valley Girl is a jukebox that relies on the power of popular 80s songs as part of its musical performances.
At the beginning of the film, the contrast between Julie and Randy is emphasized through two musical group performances with different nuances. Jessica Rothe was introduced as Julie Richman, a popular girl who likes to hang out at the mall, through the song "We Got the Beat". Meanwhile, Josh Whitehouse as Randy, the bad boy with a rebellious spirit, performed the song "Bad Reputation" with his punk friends.
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Valley Girl executes its musical aspects in an old fashioned way reminiscent of Disney Channel films (which are now grown up by the stars). Every time Julie and her girl gang "act" in a musical scene, I feel brought back to a number of scenes in the film Camp Rock (2008). However, even Camp Rock managed to popularize a number of original songs that colored the late 2000s of the younger generation.
I realized that behind Valley Girl's choice to carry the jukebox musical genre, this film tries to give a nostalgic sensation. Audiences who have previously watched the original version of this film may be impressed when “I Melt With You” is played again.
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Personally, I am not that familiar with some of the soundtracks of this film. However, who wouldn't move to the rhythm of the song that is as legendary as A-ha's “Take On Me” or Queen's “Under Pressure”. Valley Girl knows this very well and chooses the most appropriate compilation of songs to serve as the framework for her musical performances.
Another big change that we can find is in terms of characterization in this film. Josh Whitehouse's Randy seems to be a punk kid who is relatively much "calm" than when the character was played by Nicolas Cage. Unfortunately, most of Valley Girl's (1983) charm stems from Cage's debut appearance as the main star in the film.
In this modern version of Valley Girl, Randy has much less control over the movement of the storyline in the film. It seems that both Talkington and Goldenberg agree that the theme of women's emancipation will be more relevant to use in the new interpretation of Valley Girl.
On the one hand, this is one thing that makes Valley Girl not completely fall into the cliché Romeo and Juliet-style romance trope. In one scene, Julie has the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart talk with her father. Seeing the flight of the first female astronaut from the United States, Sally Ride, Julie's father encouraged her daughter to be brave enough to follow her dreams.
When he was married, Julie, who later had grown up, tried to return this spirit to his daughter, Ruby. The sharing session between adult Julie and Ruby is a storytelling tool which I think is very interesting. This allowed Valley Girl to retain the 80s atmosphere from her old films.
Moreover, Alicia Silverstone, the “queen” in the classic teen film Clueless (1995) herself played the adult Julie.
Nostalgia may indeed be the only key to enjoying Valley Girl. Not only the soundtrack, the production design and costumes typical of the 80s in this film are also interesting to observe. Bright pastels dominate most of the film.
The most entertaining thing in Valley Girl is its use of the typical 80s American children's dialogue. Although stereotypical, this kind of dialogue manages to become a tantalizing element of comedy. Iconic words such as "as if", "like", "for sure", which are scattered throughout the film become a clever humor detail.
However, it seems that no matter how well Valley Girl appears, this film has not had such a good fortune since its inception. Amongst the ranks of actors involved, the name Logan Paul will immediately catch our eye.
Logan Paul is an internet celebrity whose name has soared through various vlogs that he has uploaded on his Youtube account. At the end of 2017, he was caught in a scandal that made his figure controversial. This Logan Paul scandal made the Valley Girl film suffer a release delay of nearly two years.
In Valley Girl itself, Logan Paul plays a minor role as the school sports star and Julie's lover, Mickey. Throughout the film, Mickey is seen almost always in the athlete's outfit of a polo shirt with a raised collar. This appearance more or less describes the character he plays as a rich, arrogant, and narcissistic young man.
Even though Logan Paul's acting skills are not as brilliant as the other actors in Valley Girl, at least he was quite successful in playing the character Mickey, which ironically reminds us of the original Logan Paul in his controversial vlog a few years ago.
Valley Girl is a musical comedy romance which is a remake of the film of the same name released in 1983. Slightly different from the original, this modern version of Romeo and Juliet's forbidden love story makes musical appearances a major aspect of the story. Although it does not manage to exceed the standards reached by its predecessor, Valley Girl contains various elements of nostalgia in the 80s which are quite entertaining to enjoy.
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