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Valley Girl (Blu-Ray Review)

3 min read

Eureka Entertainment

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.

For forty years now, cinema has enjoyed the distinctive and energetic performances of the one and only . To celebrate this, are releasing a new restoration of . The , directed by Martha Coolidge, has the unique honour of featuring Cage's first major role.

The restorative work by Eureka is fantastic. They took from the original negatives and created a beautiful 1080p transfer, making the film accessible at home in the U.K. for the first time. The film itself, on the other hand, isn't so impressive.

Valley Girl isn't without merit, but it struggles due to its messy script. Screenwriters Wayne Crawford and Andrew Lane write the film in a way that sees it stuck between two very different styles of the teen . The scenes which focus on the Romeo and Juliet inspired romance between Cage's Randy and Deborah Foreman's Julie are tender and engaging. They're certainly the best parts of the film, thanks to Cage's charisma and the intimacy and conflict between the characters.

Nicholas Cage looks down at Deborah Foreman in Valley Girl
Eureka Entertainment

On the other hand, the film leans towards the teen sex comedies of the early 1980s, finding itself stuck between being more like Porky‘s or more in the style of Sixteen Candles. Some scenes move away from Julie and Randy to focus on other characters as they attempt to have sexual encounters. The shift from romantic comedy to raunchy teen film is tough to stomach, especially at this frequency. It is this which makes it feel so unfocused.

Cage's performance, certainly the film's most entertaining element, is great. It isn't as immediately striking as his later work, but it contains the quality that Cage is now known for. Randy is the film's most fleshed out character, burdened by struggles as a working class punk. The film does dare to make him unlikeable at times, over-stepping boundaries due to feeling rejected. This serves the film well as it adds a realism to the characters.

The focus on Julie's parents is also a refreshing subversion of the '80s romantic comedy. Played by Colleen Camp and Frederic Forrest, the two are '60s hippies aged into being ‘uncool'. They are given some of the best comedic sequences in the film and serve as a fun contrast to Cage's edginess. One scene sees a nervous Frederic Forrest smoke a joint before Julie's prom and then attempt to take her prom pictures – it is easily the funniest in the film.

Overall, Valley Girl is an interesting time capsule, but it has little more to offer than mild entertainment. Cage's performance is fascinating, particularly due to his age, but he alone cannot save the film. Watch Valley Girl for its tender scenes and its occasionally refreshing characters, not for its awkward sex comedy sequences.

Valley Girl will be released by Eureka Entertainment on September 18th and is available for purchase here.