Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion
Michele Weinberger (Kudrow) and Romy White (Sorvino) are two 28-year-old friends living together in Los Angeles, California. They are both single. When the story begins, Romy works as a cashier in a Jaguar car dealership; Michele is unemployed. They live a life of partying and fun and don’t take life too seriously. After 10 years of this laid-back lifestyle, they get word of their 10-year high school reunion in their hometown of Tucson, Arizona. Desperate to make good impressions, they make last ditch attempts to get boyfriends, get better jobs, and lose weight. This is interspersed with clips showing the social torture they endured during their high school days, mostly at the hands of the “A-group,” headed by cheerleader Christie Masters (Julia Campbell). The torture comes to a head at the end of their high school prom, where Christie’s jock boyfriend, Billy Christiansen (Vincent Ventresca), tells Romy that he’ll dance with her, if she’ll just wait for a few minutes. In reality, he and Christie ride off on his motorbike, leaving Romy waiting all night.
Failing in their attempts to get jobs and lose weight, they borrow an expensive car and decide to attend the reunion with made-up stories about their lives. Coming up with what they think is a highly impressive story, they decide to claim that they are very successful businesswomen who invented Post-it notes. However, during their drive, they get into an argument about who is cuter (by comparing themselves with Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern) and who would be clever enough to think of the idea of Post-it notes (Romy claims it would be her) and their friendship dissolves.
When they arrive at the reunion, Romy finds a grown-up Billy Christiansen, who now seems very happy to see her. She tells him that she invented Post-its all by herself, while Michele looks on in disdain. Michele then discovers that the “A-group” girls that picked on her in high school have stayed in touch. Michele remarks that Christie wanted Jane Pauley’s job in high school, and she asks her if she is a big news anchorwoman now. Christie says that she is a weathergirl. Michele convinces the four girls that she invented a special kind of glue, and Cheryl remarks that she must be the most successful person in their graduating class. Sandy Frink (Alan Cumming), the nerd who had a crush on Michele, turns out to be incredibly wealthy and gorgeous (with the help of cosmetic surgery) and hits on Michele. Soon both Romy and Michele are winning awards as most successful members of their graduating class, though still refusing to speak with each other. They then leave the party with their respective new lovers.
Cut forward 70 years and Romy is on her death bed. Michele calls her up to make amends only to rehash the same argument they had in the car those many years ago. Romy dies, as Michele puts it, “an old hag on her death bed,” and they never get a chance to resolve their issues…that is, until Michele wakes up in the car, parked outside the hotel where the reunion is being held. The entire sequence following the argument was a dream.
Michele enters the reunion and begins to spread around her story about Post-its. Romy discovers that Lisa Luder is not part of the “A-group” anymore, and is a fashion editor for Vogue Magazine. Later on, Romy sees that rest of the “A-group”, and it turns out the three girls are all pregnant.
Unfortunately, Heather Mooney reveals to the “A-group” that Romy didn’t invent Post-Its. Humiliated, Romy and Michele resolve their fight and decide to just be themselves and not care about other people’s opinions. However, Christie Masters (who instead of becoming ‘weather girl’ is a stay-at-home mom, as are the rest of the A-group) mocks their lie during a presentation in front of everyone. Horrified, they flee the hotel. Outside, though, they reaffirm their decision to be themselves. They change out of their “businesswoman outfits” into sexy, funky club clothes, and return. They confront Christie and accuse her of being a “bad person with an ugly heart” for all of the teasing they had to endure in the past and at the reunion. At the climax of the confrontation, Romy tells Christie, “We don’t give a flying fuck what you think,” which shocks everyone in attendance.
Just as Christie attempts to mock their clothes (which Romy and Michele designed and sewed), classmate Lisa Luder (Elaine Hendrix), a former member of the A-Group who has long changed her ways and became an associate fashion editor for Vogue, announces that she thinks they have nice lines and a fun, frisky use of color. After Lisa finishes her verbal beatdown, Christie is left in the dust and everyone congratulates Romy and Michele on their great designs. Then, in a fairly ironic parallel of Michele’s dream, Sandy Frink arrives and turns out to actually be a millionaire. After a wonderful interpretive dance with Michele and Romy, he escorts them to his helicopter so that they can fly off together. On their way they encounter the real Billy Christensen, Romy’s crush in high school; he is drunk, fat, unsuccessful, unhappily married to Christie (which in turn, means that Christie is unsuccessful) and the two of them never left town (though this doesn’t stop him from propositioning Romy). Romy tells him to go up to his hotel room and wait for her with his clothes off. As he excitedly shuffles off, she delights in her revenge, telling Michele now he can “see what it feels like to wait.” As they fly off, they see Heather making out with a cigarette guy (who had been too shy to talk to her in high school), and Christie calling out for Billy.
Finally back in L.A., Romy and Michele use money loaned to them by Sandy to open their own clothing store. The movie ends with the two folding scarves and Romy proclaiming to Michele that she’s the funnest person she knows, to which Michele replies, “Me too!… With you!”
Every once in a while, there will come a film so bad that it’s actually great. Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion is one of those films. Everything about this film screams that it should suck, yet its actually quite enjoyable in spite of itself.
Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino are so totally clueless that you feel sorry for them and wonder how they have survived in the world. The added bit of depth they throw into the characters in the middle of the film is pretty good, as well.
Janene Garofalo is her usual surly, sarcastic self and really made this role her own. Camryn Manheim is pleasantly surprising as Toby. I don’t think anyone would picture her as a comedic actress.
One of the things that really make this film enjoyable is the 80s soundtrack. It really captures the fun, lighthearted tone of the film with the songs that were chosen.
This is one of those films that some will look at and think its a stupid comedy. Yes, there is stupidity, but it’s relegated to stereotypical blonde actions. If you’re looking for a good time in your movies, then check this one out!
4 out of 5 stars