Ex-TV commercial director Adrian (Flashdance, 9½ Weeks) Lyne made his feature film debut with this slick movie about four 16-year-old girls growing up in the San Fernando Valley, California, and their problems with life and men.
A young Jodie Foster is Jeanie, the straight-arrow sorting out her friends at “boring” North Hollywood High, including podgy, unloved Madge (Marilyn Kagan), compulsive liar Deirdre (Kandice Stroh), and abused hooker Annie (ex-Runaways band member Cherie Currie).
Jeanie clashes with her mother, Mary (Sally Kellerman), who does a lousy job of balancing family, school, and work; Madge attempts to set up housekeeping with an older man named Jay (Randy Quaid); Hottie Dierdre plays adolescent romantic games, breaking hearts along the way; and doomed Annie functions as a one-woman cautionary tale against bad boys and hard drugs.
Foster’s Bugsy Malone co-star Scott Baio provides the male interest, but it’s really one to watch for the girls, who all overcome a clichéd script to give a good depiction of what it was like to be a teenager at the end of the 1970s.
Former British pop star Adam Faith has a small role as Jeanie’s tour manager father and a young Laura Dern appears briefly in an early role.