Valley Girl (2020)

First: a word about Logan Paul. Logan Paul is a Youtube star. “Star.” I know his name but not his content; he’s the brand of entitled-obnoxious that my life doesn’t need so I’ve never seen a single thing he’s done. I do know he’s been controversial, though. The first I heard of him, he’d gone to the suicide forest in Japan in late 2017 and posted a video of the corpse of a recently deceased (hanged) man. Cue uproar, cue “apology.” Youtube gave him a slap on the wrist (with 25M subscribers, their partnership is extremely lucrative to both) but he was back at it just a few weeks later. He’s sexist, he’s homophobic, he’s racist. Basically, he’s a giant douche. Valley Girl director Rachel Lee Goldenberg had the misfortune of casting him in her movie to play…well, a giant douche as it happens. This was in the spring of 2017, before the big controversies started to add up. The film was scheduled for a 2018 release by they scrapped it due to his involvement. This poor movie has languished on some shelf in Hollywood, serving a sentence for crimes committed by a single cast member. So yes, I acknowledge that Logan Paul is a problematic douche nozzle and we all wish he wasn’t in this movie even though he’s actually perfectly cast. With that said, onto the movie.

Yes, this is a remake of the 1983 film of the same name, starring Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman. Foreman played Julie, a perfect, preppie valley girl who falls for a punk (Cage) from the wrong side of the hills. In the 2020 version, Julie is a proper grown up. She (Alicia Silverstone) is a mom now, and she recounts this teenage romance to her daughter.

Cue: the 1980s. Cue the leg warmers, the big hair, the jazzercize, the popped collars. A young Julie (Jessica Rothe) frolics on the beach with her gal pals and then hits up the mall. She’s dating arrogant jock Mickey (Logan Paul) but an edgier guy has grabbed her eye. Randy (Josh Whitehouse) is not a punk, because punk is dead, but if she’s a little bit country, he’s a little bit rock n roll. Her friends think she’s having a nervous breakdown but as far as rebellious streaks go it’s actually pretty tame – just dreaming of leaving the suburbs and maybe prioritizing a career instead of marriage and motherhood.

2020’s Valley Girl is somehow even more 80s than the original: it’s an homage, a love letter, a glossy, hair sprayed tribute, and in doing so, it’s rounded out the edges and presents a sanitized pop version for your nostalgia cravings. This Valley Girl is a jukebox musical which means every song sung will be one you know; the retro soundtrack includes We Got the Beat, Bad Reputation, Hey Mickey, Call Me, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Kids in America, Just Can’t Get Enough, Material Girl, Safety Dance, Take On Me, Under Pressure, I Melt With You…well, you get the picture. The 80s vibes are strong in this one.

Is this a life-changing movie? No. Is this a great piece of cinema? Still no. But if you’re willing to embrace the cheese, it’s actually quite a bit of fun. And the great thing about the 80s is that you don’t actually have to have lived through them to be nostalgic for them. It feels like the nostalgia was baked right into the decade (and quite possibly Tang flavoured). Play I-Spy during the carefully curated costume party: can you spot Boy George – George Michael – Michael Jackson?

This movie is Grease meets Trolls World Tour meets Romeo and Juliet, but feels like it’s a 90 minute version of those Tiffany videos she used to shoot at the mall. Valley Girl knows what it is and isn’t afraid to lean right in. This is the 80s, turned up to 11.

17 thoughts on “Valley Girl (2020)

  1. Anya Abraham

    Oh the Paul brothers really like to be the centre of attention. Always some news revolving them. I’d pass on any movie they were in because I can already hear them being ‘giant douches’ the both of them. But seeing that you added ‘willing to embrace the cheese’, I am more than willing. Gotta give this one a spin.

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  2. Pingback: Valley Girl (2020) — ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES | FESTIVAL for FAMILY

  3. rdfranciswriter

    Thanks for the backstory. I’ve heard of Logan Paul in passing, but wasn’t aware of who he was or what he did exactly, just that he was some type of “social media” personality. The trajectory of this film sounds much like Underwater with T.J Miller: the film was shot and in the can, then T.J stirred up controversy (ies) — and the movie was delayed/canned, etc. It’s a shame that actors today don’t take their responsibilities to the studio seriously, knowing their bad behaviors can kill a film’s prospects.

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  4. Liz A.

    As a child of the ’80s, I give this a skip. ’80s movies rarely get the ’80s right unless they were made then. It was an odd decade. And as someone who was valley-adjacent during that time, I can say with certainty that the whole Valley Girl shtick grated very quickly and died a fast death.

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    1. rdfranciswriter

      You’re right on the button. This is all “too much”: too much shtick, parody, etc. The ’80s simply wasn’t that over the top.

      Let’s just hope Fast Times at Ridgemont High remains untouched.

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  5. selizabryangmailcom

    But why? Why remake Valley Girl? I love your optimistic review. But I HATE pointless remakes!
    Like why would you remake Hellboy?
    Why would you remake Planet of the Apes?
    Why would you remake Rollerball?
    How do you have the balls to remake Ghostbusters??!!! It’s crazy–human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together–mass hysteria !!!

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      1. selizabryangmailcom

        Haha. Yeah, I won’t get you started. I won’t say James Caan vs. CHRIS KLEIN??!! I won’t ask what is LL Cool J doing in Rollerball??!!! I won’t say it, LOL ! !

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      2. rdfranciswriter

        Yeah. And that Poseidon remake with Kurt Russell. CGI does not always make a better film. It’s not awful and it looks great . . . but just lays there.

        These remakes bring you to realize that the effects they could accomplish in the ’70s with practical in-camera effects were pretty amazing.

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  6. mydangblog

    This was not my 80s, and god do I abhor Logan Paul and even more his younger brother. Such douches, and just for their transphobia/homophobia alone, I avoid them like the plague. Great review though:-)

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