Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

I can't believe how cute I look.
Don't you love how we can say that to each other and we know we're not being conceited?
Now, we're just being honest!

Romy (Mira Sorvino, last seen in "Beautiful Girls") and Michele (Lisa Kudrow of "Friends") are two daft young women who are the bestest of friends, sharing an apartment in Venice Beach, California. They spend their days watching "Pretty Woman" over and over again ("I just get really happy when they let her shop" Michele sighs to Romy), going to clubs in the outrageous outfits that they design and make, working (Romy works in the service department of a Jaguar dealership and Michele is unemployed-- sorry, make that 'a freelance fashion consultant'), and having a blast while looking fantastic. One day at work, Romy runs into Heather (Jeaneane Garofalo, "Truth About Cats and Dogs"), who went to the same high school in Tucson, Arizona. She learns from Heather about the Class of 87's ten-year high school reunion, and convinces Michele that they should go. A few painful high school flashbacks later, they are concocting stories about what they've been doing in the past ten years (like inventing Post-It notes) and trying to re-invent themselves for the reunion.

Well, I invented them, but you were instrumental in the development and marketing.

Up to this point, the film is actually tolerable. The food-chain existence of high school (preppies, gothics, jocks, nerds) in the eighties is captured quite well as we watch the teenage Romy pine for jock Billy Christiansen, and Michele trying to escape the attention of nerd Sandy Frink (Alan Cumming, last seen in "Emma"). But unfortunately, the cracks begin to show when Romy and Michele set out on their roadtrip to Tucson for the reunion, and the movie turns into a torturous ordeal by the time Romy and Michele are facing their nemeses from high school, the 'A-Club' girls. Like Kudrow's character, who always ends up saying the wrong thing in a situation, the script begins to falter. Everything seems to go on a little bit longer than it should-- a fantasy reunion dream sequence, the awkward situations that Romy and Michele put themselves in, the jokes that never seem to hit their target, and the godawful 'Swan Lake' dance sequence in the last reel. Both the maturation of the protagonists and the theme of 'being true to yourself' end up being muddled, since Romy and Michelle are still the self-absorbed, facetious, materialistic twits that they were at the beginning of the story-- the only difference is that don't care what anyone else thinks of them now. Now contrast this with another movie that revolved around the lives of the young and the ditzy, "Clueless". Amy Heckerling's comedy from a couple year's back was the satirical comedy with brilliant comedic execution that this movie should have been.

I'm glad I got Mono. That was the best diet ever!

Not even the good direction by first-timer David Mirkin can save this movie. All the inventive transition sequences, tracking shots, and MTV-school-of-filmmaking techniques cannot hide the uninspired script, which seems more like a bunch of lame jokes and semi-humorous observations strung together into a semi-cohesive narrative. More like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch that went on a little too long.

In summary, don't waste your time with this vacuous drivel. Don't even rent it when it comes out on video. But if you are in the mood for a movie where the underdog gets one-up on 'the A-Club', I would suggest the memorable Australian comedy "Muriel's Wedding".

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