Valley Girl

Critics Consensus

Valley Girl won't, like, make you forget the original or anything, but as a breezy jukebox musicals go, it's still fairly rad.

55%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 49

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 295

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Movie Info

Julie (Jessica Rothe) is the ultimate '80s Valley Girl. A creative free spirit; Julie's time is spent with her best friends shopping at the Galleria mall and making plans for senior prom. That is, until she falls hard for Randy (Joshua Whitehouse), a Sunset Strip punk rocker, who challenges everything the Valley and Julie stand for. Despite push-back from friends and family, Julie must break out of the safety of her world to follow her heart and discover what it really means to be a Valley Girl. Set to a rock 'n roll '80s soundtrack produced by legendary Harvey Mason, Jr. with dance numbers by choreographer Mandy Moore, VALLEY GIRL is a musical adaptation of the classic 1983 hit film that changed American teenage life forever.

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Critic Reviews for Valley Girl

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (22)

  • Fans of '80s music won't enjoy their cherished tunes being churned into pap by the cast recordings, and fans of the original movie won't enjoy the counterproductive changes to the story.

    July 16, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The movie is just as slick as the lifestyle it supposedly mocks.

    May 21, 2020 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • By the end, even a fan of the original may feel dread instead of glee at the rise of synth on the soundtrack, announcing yet another interminable musical number.

    May 14, 2020 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

    Gwen Ihnat

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • This movie hurts my heart, and not in a good way... This just made me cringe a lot.

    May 12, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Valley Girl is an '80s artifact that either should have been given a more interesting makeover or been left untouched in the dustbin of the decade that spawned it.

    May 11, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • There are two key additions to the narrative this time around, both fairly disastrous.

    May 8, 2020 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Valley Girl

  • May 23, 2020
    I MEH WITH YOU - My Review of VALLEY GIRL (2 1/2 Stars) A couple of years ago, I went with a group to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Despite the thuddingly bad writing, we'd giddily wonder what ABBA song the filmmakers would shoehorn into the next musical number. I remember my pal Dennis seeing those platform soles stepping out of a helicopter and loudly exclaiming, "F*ck yeah, it's Cher!" as the camera tilted up to reveal the pop icon. We sat there exhausted and bewildered as the end credits rolled when our friend Steven yelled across the row to us, "That was terrible…and great!" I brought that memory to my viewing of the musical remake of the Martha Coolidge 1983 classic Valley Girl, which made a star out of Nicholas Cage and launched a killer, wall-to-wall soundtrack. It starts with a fun conceit. Teen movie legend Alicia Silverstone, as the older version of Julie from the original, sits her wayward teen daughter down for a talk about how things were when she was her age. Unreliable narrator that she is, she imagines her younger years as a bubblegum musical. This gives the film free reign to do whatever it pleases, resulting in something that resembles the orgy-driven lovechild of Glee, High School Musical, and Rock Of Ages as they tag-teamed Gillian Armstrong's 80s new wave film Starstruck. When we flashback to the 80s, we meet young Julie as played by Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day), who is 32 in real life but adheres to the Stockard Channing in Grease requirement of playing a teen. Still, she's cute as hell and sings like an angel. Julie and her posse of fellow upper middle class valley girls spend their days ogling boys, shopping at the mall, or tanning at the beach. It's a that beach where Julie meets Randy (Josh Whitehouse, all loose and fun instead of Cage's too cool for school approach), a scrappy punk from the dangerous Hollywood side of Los Angeles. Faster than you can say "Gag me with Romeo and Juliet!", the pair fall in love, starting what results in a cultural war between the haves and the have-nots, but with bright, catchy 80s cover songs! Director Rachel Lee Goldenberg knows what she's doing, staging the numbers with flair and fluidity. Yes, it's a jukebox musical, but the songs often move the story along instead of feeling wedged into the screenplay. Early on we're treated to"We Got The Beat" as the girls skip through the Galleria and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" for their day at the shore, both of which set the stage with high energy choreography. I loved Mae Whitman's perfect introductory song, "Bad Reputation" as she plays Jack, Randy's lesbian BFF. Obnoxious YouTuber, Logan Paul, who plays Julie's awful jock boyfriend, gets his big first number, "Hey Mickey" at a pep rally, which seems to exist so that we'll learn his name. Ok, that one's a little too convenient, but it made me grin. Occasionally, Goldenberg and her writer, Amy Talkington use slow motion, such as with "Kids In America", to isolate Julie in a scene and allow us inside her head. Despite being used to better effect in the "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" scene in Across The Universe, it gives the film more emotional heft than one would expect. A film like this, however, would disappoint lovers of camp without that one bonkers sequence. Fear not, because you're in for an aerobics scene which crazily mashes up Depeche Mode, Madonna, Hall & Oates, Soft Cell as the girls put on their best Jane Fonda tights and leg warmers and send this film into the cuckoo stratosphere. Had there been more scenes like this, I'd be five-starring this puppy all day and night. Most of it, however, sticks with the formula, giving Gen Xers a nostalgia trip and their children a new mix tape to savor. After a while, despite a never flagging pace, I got tired of it, knowing full well it was sticking to the script of a "will they or won't they get together?" by the time we get to the big prom finale, which of course features the iconic "I Melt With You" from the original. It's cute as hell, but hell is still hell! Most of the characters get one single trait and some of the cover songs pale in comparison to the originals. It's all very surface level, much like Silverstone's own hazy memories of her teen years. One big exception is the "Under Pressure" scene. Gloriously sweeping all over the city to feature our entire cast, the Queen/David Bowie classic gets repurposed in part as a women's empowerment anthem as some of the girls feel that pressure to have sex on prom night. It's here where the female driven creatives on this film really shine. More of that please! Oh, how I wish the gang could have gotten together to watch this movie in a theatre. Its thrills, and yes it has some, just aren't the same when watching in self-isolation. Without a pack of like-minded pals to laugh and groan in equal measure, the experience resulted in something neither terrible nor great. Simply just ok.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2020
    If you're a big fan of 80s music and looking to congenially pass 90 minutes, I suppose you could watch the new musical Valley Girl as it whisks you away on a cloud of simple nostalgia. That's the word for this movie. Everything is very simple, from the stock characterizations, to the boy-meets-girl romance, to even the performance of the dozens of popular 80s songs, which are reworked into being blander vanilla versions that reminded me of what Kids Bop does to music. We follow a titular valley girl (Jessica Rothe, so great in the Happy Death Day franchise) as she falls for a punk rocker (Josh Whitehouse, struggling in the singing department) from the wrong side of the tracks. The romance is very familiar as are their trials of stepping outside their individual comfort zones for the other person. The big problem with Valley Girl is that the first half feels like it's at warp speed; nary a minute goes by without a song-and-dance number barreling onto the screen. The second half, in contrast, has only a handful of these numbers and tries to expand the characters but by that point it's too late. I don't care about them. Since it's a jukebox musical, the songs should be selected to provide better insights into the characters' emotional states, but too often they feel superfluous and clunky. "Hey Mickey" introduces our selfish jock (Logan Paul of YouTube infamy) at a pep rally. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is about having fun on the beach. "Boys Don't Cry" about dealing with being sad. It's that kind of application. There's a frame device where an older mom (Alicia Silverstone) is recounting her 80s experiences to her teenage daughter, and this could have provided a satirical and clever development, allowing the recounted experiences to blend into fantasy and her hazy memory. Valley Girl isn't a bad movie, just one lacking significant purpose outside nostalgia and cleaning out a big music clearance account. If watching watered down 80s hits sounds like your thing, then party to the max, man. Nate's Grade: C
    Nate Z Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2020
    There are so many remakes and sequels these days that you sort of just have to hope that a few of them will be good. It's nearly impossible to predict if they're doing their own thing or just copying the original, beat for beat. The original Valley Girl from 1983 hasn't exactly dated well for today's generation, is that they used every slang term in the book and is kind of laughable to look back on. Still, I enjoy that movie quite a bit, setting aside how lame it kind of is overall. I was very curious, however, how they would adapt that film for an audience today. While it's not a great movie, there's absolutely some likeability here, even if it's incredibly cheesy.  Much like the original classic, this movie follows a rich girl from the valley and a punk guy from a rough background. They form a bond against the odds and go against their parent's wishes. Told in the style of a musical this time and set to classic 80s songs, sung in a way that will please newer audiences, everything about this movie felt strange. It also felt the need to flashback and forth to the main character as an adult, explaining her love life to her daughter, so that kids and teenage viewers would understand what it was like about 30 years ago. The oddest thing about this movie was the fact that the set design and costumes all felt authentic for the most part, but the performances all felt like young adults pretending to be from that era. It's not the type of film where I actually bought into the fact that this took place in the 80s. And as aforementioned, the music feels very new, even though they are classics. It felt like a clash that they were trying to bring it to a new audience but restricting themselves to the 80s era. I feel that this film could've been completely different and much better if they used the backdrop of the valley and used today's pop music to tell the story. I was just unsure of what this movie was trying to convey.  Where Valley Girl shines, however, is with Jessica Rothe as Julie and  Josh Whitehouse as Randy. Rothe is someone I've kept an eye on since her role in Happy Death Day and Whitehouse is someone I've never seen before but also delivered a fun performance. I liked the chemistry between the two of them, but the script itself and musical choices definitely weighed it all down for me. Yes, the music is very recognizable and the cast is well-assembled, which made for a breezy, enjoyable viewing experience, but it just didn't all work as a whole for me.  In the end, the 2020 version of Valley Girl surely has its moments and is anchored by committed performances by Jessica Rothe and Josh Whitehouse, but it wasn't enough to warrant this remake overall. In a way, this film felt like the Dabra Foreman (the original actress) grew up and told her daughter about the film from 1983. It just felt like a musical recap of the original but done in a pleasing way. I didn't dislike watching this film at all, but I can't see today's younger generation caring all that music about it, which is who it seems to be aimed at since it's no longer Rated-R. A fun watch for the music and performances, but not much more than that.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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