Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Directed by David Mirkin this 1997 comedy, like fine wine, gets better with age; or repeated viewings, based on two characters developed in the stage play Ladies Room it is a lightweight delicious romp through two unfocused girls memories of high school and their first ten-year reunion.

Starring Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino the films opens with these two best friends in their everyday lives and their discovery of their upcoming ten-year high school reunion. We learn in rapid order that neither of the two girls are what could be termed successful; they are amazingly shallow for the age of 28 and they are not the sharpest tools in the shed. The other thing we learn is that they cannot, either of them, make a decision.

After hysterically trying to “success themselves up” by losing weight, getting boyfriends and landing great jobs, the girls admit defeat and decide to attend the reunion with a list of lies about how rich they are.

We are treated to the girl’s high school memories and how they clung to each other as the “ultimate” misfits of the school. The flashbacks in the film are as funny as the present day events. The film is not side-splittingly funny, but, it is funny. With both Kudrow and Sorvino on top form the film could not help but be funny.

Kudrow, who sharpened her comedic skills and timing on Friends, was no surprise. The woman is a naturally gifted comic actress and this film confirms it. The real surprise to me was Sorvino. I had seen her in Mimic and The Replacement Killers, neither one of which was comedic in nature. I remember watching the film and saying, “Damn! That Mira Sorvina is funny. Who’d have thunk?” Well the casting agent, apparently.

Both the women work extremely well as a double act. It is in essence a female buddy movie.

Danny and Mel?

The stereotypes that they portray from the two girls high school days are funny and pretty much spot-on. The A list group who puts down anyone not in their sphere of specialness; the loners and socially inept (that Romy and Michele were a part of) who hover around in the background of pretty much every high school in the world; plus the other little cliques (the sports crowd, the drama crowd, et al) and the way these groups formed allegiances to pick on the loners.

The reunion itself continues to pile on the stereotypes with the school sport star running to seed and who has become an overweight alcoholic who married the lead cheerleader. The cheerleader leads a promiscuous life with everyone but her husband. The class emo (or goth) has become rich after inventing the “fast” cigarette. The A-list group all have carbon copy lives and aren’t capable of individual thought; except for the one girl who broke away and became a fashionista. The geekiest kid in school has become a multi-millionaire with his own helicopter and a case of unrequited love for the two girls.

Yes the film relies on stereotypes and a certain schmaltzy feel to the comedy elements of the film. But…but…It works; beautifully. In fact the comedic deluge is almost relentless. At no time during the film did I not sit there without at least a smile on my face. The thing I did most was chuckle and laugh. Despite the fact that the film did not garner more than 29 million dollars at the box office; the film has gone on to reach cult status with its fans.

All I can say is, “Bless you Netflix.” I stumbled over this film while trundling through the movies on offer. I am glad I did because being a huge Kudrow fan it was a pleasant surprise and Sorvino’s performance was an even more pleasant surprise. The soundtrack is hip and relevant fitting the scenes like a wry glove.

I wouldn’t give this movie a 5 star rating, but damn it, it’s at least a 4 if not 4 1/2, definitely worth popping up a bowl of popcorn; cracking open a coke and enjoying yourself till the end credits roll.

The geek gets rich and gets the girls.
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