1983, R, 95 min. Directed by Martha Coolidge. Starring Nicolas Cage, Deborah Foreman, Colleen Camp, Frederic Forrest.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., May 13, 1983
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. But they’re from two different worlds. And there’s the rub. Or as the promotion campaign explains: “She’s cool. He’s hot. She’s from the Valley. He’s not.” Frank and Moon Zappa fortunately had nothing to do with this Valley Girl artifact. Director Martha Coolidge fortunately did. Previously, Coolidge independently directed Not a Pretty Picture, a probing and complex “docu-dream-like” film about rape. Daunted perhaps, by the lack of distribution or maybe just wanting to try her hand at something new, Coolidge has now entered the teen exploitation market. Coolidge has no axe to grind with Valley Girls. They’re simply teenagers subject to the classic problems of love and peer pressure, albeit spiced with their own distinct valley jargon. Julie (Deborah Foreman) breaks up with Tommy because she is “totally not is love with him.” In the meantime, she meets Randy (Nicolas Cage), a Hollywood punk rocker whose very appearance grosses out her valley pals to the max. Julie’s friends encourage her to make up with Tommy because they are the perfect couple and destined to be crowned king and queen of the prom. Julie’s parents, of whom she is slightly embarrassed because they are throwbacks to the 1960s and own a healthy foods store, encourage her to make her own decisions and think for herself. The star-crossed Romeo finally wins back his Juliet but not until the prom is trashed, leaving trails of green guacamole dip (instead of the red buckets of pig blood in Carrie). Coolidge directs all this with a light hand and the non-stop musical score features music by the Plimsouls, Josie Cotton, Clash, Men at Work, Sparks, and many more.