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Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997) on IMDb

Plot Overview

quiltingThe opening scrolls through gorgeously patterned cloth material cutting out­side to Venice Beach, California and zooming into a top floor craftsman's flat where we find two fair damsels watching a rerun of “Pretty Woman,” currently at the part where she does some shopping. Romy White (Mira Sorvino) and Michele Wein­berger (Lisa Kudrow) design and stitch their own clothes from pictures in Vogue magazine using skills acquired from Home Ec back at Sage­brush High in Tucson, Arizona. They look stunning here at home and in every scene, but they're like a small frog in a small pond having jumped into a big pond: if they didn't stick out back home, then they're not going to make a big splash here in L.A. either.

puzzled ladiesRomy works as a cashier in the service department of a (then British) Jaguar dealer­ship along with some blacks, hispanics and other minorities making up a quota. Her cashier skills are dismal. Michele is unemployed. They go club­bing at night and can really cut a rug, country line dancing to disco. The L.A. honchos pass them over for Valley Girls of easier virtue, nor do Romy and Michele find the men there attractive however smartly attired. They think of them as vacuous suits, although this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

business womanIn order to impress their high school class of 1987 at its ten year reunion, they are going as pretend business­women. This has a couple of draw­backs. One is that every­one in their class is more savvy than they are and might see through the ruse. Another is they might start believing their own story and start arguing over who's more successful. This could damage a beautiful friendship.


Michele observes, “You know? I bet in high school, everybody made some­body's life hell.” It pays to develop a thick skin. (Eccl. 4:1) “So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.”

(Eccl. 4:2) “Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.” The one person who was spared all the drama of the reunion was the classmate who, “Didn't he die?”

(Eccl. 4:3) “Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” And more detached than both he and they are those buns-in-the-oven carried by the pregnant women attending.

(Eccl. 4:4) “Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.” The class­mates who are true successes are envied by those who are just getting there.

(Eccl. 4:5) “The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.” Romy who had a weight problem back in high school was “so lucky getting mono. That was like the best diet ever.”

(Eccl. 4:6) “Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.” Heather Mooney (Janeane Garofalo) whose cigarette break between classes was too short to smoke a whole cig spent half the time fumbling for a light instead of just enjoying the smoke. What's the point of a break if one can't relax?

(Eccl. 4:7-8) “Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.” Sandy Frink (Alan Cumming) the most successful alumnus at the reunion, i.e. the one who'd accumulated the most stuff, arrived by helicopter but complained privately that there was no one special to share his bounty with.

(Eccl. 4:9-12) “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall with­stand him; and a three­fold cord is not quickly broken.” This seems to be the point of “Romy and Michele.” They were always paired up making their way in high school and afterwards. Their lives were enjoyable because they had each other. They had each other's backs as well. And when Sandy showed up they danced a troika with him.

(Eccl. 4:13-14) “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” The kid in the back seat of a passing car was a wisen­heimer making funny faces at Michele, but that was better than Romy on her conjectural death bed giving her the finger. She failed to accept Michele's dominant cuteness (“No. Not Until you admit that I'm the Mary, and you're the Rhoda.”) Just as convicts pick up bad language in prison, Romy started giving the finger to Mr. Lish (E.J. Callahan) for his putting them in detention. The kid for his part will grow out of those mannerisms eventually, save maybe for sticking out his tongue.

(Eccl. 4:15-16) “I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead. There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Romy and Michele perused their year­book The Roundup that was bursting with pictures of their class, just as there were year­books of past classes and there will be for years to come. They won't mean much to these other classes, though.

Production Values

” was directed by David Mirkin. Robin Schiff wrote the kitschy screen­play based on her play, “Ladies' Room.” Cast includes Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming, and Justin Theroux. Leads Sorvino and Kudrow gave great performances. All the speaking parts seemed to shine.

MPAA rated it R for language. The UK bowdlerized their cinema version for a rating of 12. Their video versions remain unadult­erated and are rated 15. The two leads dress in style no matter their surroundings. The music livens up an already energetic plot. Of special note is the song, “Turning Japanese,” played when the two ditsy leads morph into “business­women” after emerging in business attire from the ladies' room of Crazy Billy's 24 hour Truck Stop. Special effects are seamless and discrete. Aside from a flip phone used as a prop, the movie was not dated.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

“Romy and Michele” is both funny and touching, and it never lets up. It gets even funnier with repeated viewings. The high school reunion is a multi­faceted event presenting challenges to all the various alumni. This one is a winner.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Superlative special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.