Revisited: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Romy White (Mira Sorvino) and Michele Weinberger (Lisa Kudrow) are two superficial 28-year-old friends living together in a beachfront apartment in Los Angeles, California. Romy works as a cashier in the service department of a Jaguar dealership; Michele’s unemployed. They’re both single and live a life of partying and fun. Romy encounters former high school classmate Heather Mooney (Janeane Garofalo) at the dealership, who informs them of their upcoming 10-year high school reunion back in their hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

Desperate to make good impressions, Romy and Michele make last-ditch attempts to get boyfriends, better jobs, lose weight, and hopefully avoid a second round of the torture they endured during their days at Sagebrush High, mostly at the hands of the “A-Group”, led by cheerleader Christie Masters (Julia Campbell). The most humiliating incident happened at their high school senior prom, when Romy asked her crush Billy Christensen, Christie’s jock boyfriend, to dance. He promised her he would but told her to wait a minute. Instead, Christie tells Romy that Billy was in love with her and they broke off as an act, then she rode off on Billy’s motorbike with him, leaving Romy tearfully waiting all night.

Failing in their attempts to get jobs and boyfriends, Romy and Michele decide to pretend to be successful by showing up in an expensive car and business suits. They then think of what they believe is a highly impressive story; saying that they are very successful businesswomen who invented Post-it notes. However, during their drive, Romy plans their success story where Michele felt that her role is too small. Romy tells her that she’s more like the designer type, and not the inventor, which Michele finds as an insult (since she isn’t very smart). They then get into an argument about who’s cuter, (by comparing themselves with Mary and Rhoda) and who would be clever enough to think of as a better story of inventing of Post-it notes in the reunion, and their friendship dissolves.

When they arrive at the reunion, Romy says 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 convinces the four girls that she invented a special kind of glue. Sandy Frink (Alan Cumming), the nerd who had a crush on Michele in high school, 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 went on their separate ways while looking at each other with longing.

Seventy years later, a severely ancient Michele learns that Romy is sick and near death and calls her up to make amends only to rehash the same argument they had in the car those many years ago. Romy dies 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, and realizes that it was all just a dream. At the reunion, Romy has begun to spread around her story about Post-its; Michele, on the other hand, only talks about her recent falling-out with Romy. Heather Mooney arrives and unknowingly reveals that Romy didn’t invent Post-Its, causing the A-Group girls to turn against her, while Michele attempts to defend Romy.

Later, in the stage, Christie further humiliates the two in front of the entire room. Because of that, Romy runs away from the crowd with Michele, who then convinces her that she genuinely thought that their entire high school and adult life was a blast, up until Romy said that it is not. Michele also says that they should just have fun like they intended to and not care what everybody else thinks. They change out of their businesswomens clothes and into sexy, handmade club outfits, and return. They confront Christie for all of the bullying they had to endure in the past and at the reunion, where Romy gives a strong speech about only making up a story in order to be treated as a human being, but not caring anymore because Christie’s just “a bad person with an ugly heart.” Just as Christie attempts to make fun of their clothes (which Romy and Michele designed and sewed), former classmate Lisa Luder (Elaine Hendrix), an ex-member of the A-Group who has since changed her ways and became an associate fashion editor for Vogue, announces her professional opinion that the outfits are actually very well-done. Christie then retaliates by saying ‘they’ still think that the outfits are bad, but Lisa tells her to let her sidekicks think for themselves even just for once. Christie then tells her that she’s just a bitter, dried-up career woman while she’s happily married, to which Lisa answers, “That’s right Christie, keep telling yourself that.” Christie’s left in the dust and everyone congratulates Romy and Michele. Heather apologizes to Romy and Michele for unintentionally revealing their story and tells them that while the A-Group made their lives miserable, the two of them managed to made hers bad as well, for she was in love with Sandy. Romy and Michele then make her feel better that she too had the luxury of making a person’s life miserable, pertaining to a classmate that Heather was sarcastic to back in high school.

Then, in a fairly coincidental parallel of Michele’s dream, Sandy arrives in a helicopter and turns out to actually be a billionaire who made his fortune from a special rubber he invented. When he comes in to the hotel, Christie immediately tries to approach him. However, he politely ignores her advances and goes over to talk to Romy and Michele. Michele remarks to Sandy that he must be the most successful person in their class; Sandy responds that despite all the wealth and success he has, the one thing he doesn’t have is her, and asks her and Romy to dance with him.

After an interpretive dance to Cyndi Lauper’s hit “Time After Time” that receives huge applause from the rest of the class, he escorts them to his helicopter and the three prepare to fly away together. Heather walks out during the dance, finding it schmaltzy, and is apparently not interested with the new Sandy. On the grounds outside, she is offered a light by a mysterious classmate who always dresses in a cowboy style. Heather remembers him from her high school years, where he would offer her a light by flicking his lit cigarette butts at her. This time, Heather demands that he man up and talk to her instead of giving her the silent treatment.

Once the dance is over, Romy and Michelle exit the building to leave with Sandy. On their way out, they encounter Billy Christensen, who’s now Christie’s husband. Far from being the handsome jock he once was, he’s now become an overweight alcoholic, is living a very poor, miserable life with Christie, and is doubtful the baby Christie’s carrying is actually his. When he tries to proposition Romy for sex, she tells him to go to his hotel room and wait for her with his clothes off. He excitedly shuffles off, and Romy revels in her revenge for when he made her wait for him at the prom. Everyone at the reunion comes out to wave goodbye as they take off, except for Christie. As she calls out for Billy, Christie has her dress blown up by the chopper, which further humiliates her, much to Romy and Michele’s amusement.

Six months later back in L.A., Romy and Michele use money loaned to them by Sandy to open their own clothing store. Heather Mooney has stayed in touch and has become friends with the girls, shopping in their boutique.

REVIEW:

This has been a banner week for my high school. Well, at least one of them, anyway. On the good side, alumni Jared Leto won an Oscar on Sunday, but on the bad side of things some kids pranked the school and super glued all the exterior locks. What does this have to do with Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion? Nothing really, other than this is one of those films that takes me back to high school.

What is this about?

Two not-too-bright party girls reinvent themselves for their high school reunion, armed with a borrowed Jaguar, new clothes and the story of their success as the inventors of Post-it notes.

What did I like?

Reunion. The big plot device of this film is the 10 year high school reunion. I didn’t get to go to my 10 yr reunion because of a variety of scheduling factors. Ironically, I did get to go the homecoming game, but I was on the visitors side. At any rate, to this day, I still find it fascinating to see where people I went to high school with are now, how much they changed, etc. The same feeling is felt at this reunion. Sure, our two leads haven’t accomplished much of anything since high school, save for staying best friends, but they still show up and want to make a good impression, appearing to have changed for the better.

Bright and fun. On a messenger board, someone posted that “Expect Oscar-caliber stuff and you’ll leave disappointed.” I don’t think there is a film that better fits that statement than this one. Mixing the fun and whimsy of seeing old friends again with the tone many films associate with the 80s and this was truly and enjoyable flick. The kind of movie that you can shut your brain off  and still enjoy, but if you keep thinking and overanalyzing everything, you are sure to end up not having as good a time watching as normal people.

Girls on film. Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino make for an interesting pair. They are not only funny, but believable as a pair of lifelong friends who are a tad bit on the ditzy side. How can you not love a couple of ditzy blondes, especially when you see what they endured in high school. The flashbacks which gave us a bit of a backstory were nice, as well.

What didn’t I like?

Mean girls. In high school, the popular kids seem to relish picking on the not-so-popular. That isn’t a stereotype, it actually happens. Fast forward 10 years and these mean girls are still trying to pick on Romy & Michele. Is it me or does that not come off as pathetic and immature. It is one thing to want to relish your high school days, but quite another to be stuck in them. Just because they haven’t done anything with their lives but lay on their backs with their legs in the air letting any and everyone have a “piece” is no reason to take out their frustrations on people who are genuinely happy with their lives.

Slip of the tongue. At the reunions, Janene Garofolo runs her big mouth and spoils the lie that Romy and Michele have going. Sure, she owns up to it and apologizes, but why couldn’t she have kept her mouth shut? Perhaps things would have gone better for the girls. Then again, if she hadn’t and things played out differently, we may have had a totally different ending.

Friends. Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino play great ditzy blonde friends, as I mentioned earlier. However, Kudrow seems like she was playing an extension of Phoebe, her character from Friends. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, as Phoebe was a great character, but one would imagine she could have done something different. Perhaps a different spin on the ditz angle would have worked.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have no worries like the main characters in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion? Maybe one day we can all reach that point. In the meantime, enjoy the light-hearted comedy that doesn’t try to do anything more than entertain the audience. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly. No reason to not watch, unless you’re a dark soul who doesn’t like fun. Unless you’re one of those folks, this should be something you enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Revisited: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”

  1. […] My reviews of movies I catch via Netflix, in theaters, TV, or my own DVD collection. « Revisited: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion […]

  2. Love this movie! One of my faves to simply chill out and watch a movie. It’s is true though that the mean girls maintain their image their whole loves typically. Rarely have I seen that change. Sad but true! Now I need to go watch this movie now! Haha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: