Reviewed by: Brian Nigro
Starring: Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garofalo / Director: David Mirkin / Released by: Touchstone Pictures
Have you noticed the new trend of similarly-themed movies coming out at the same time? First big rivalry this year (1997) was “Dante’s Peak” vs. “Volcano”. Now, on the heels of “Grosse Point Blank” comes “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”.
Truth be told, both of the latter are an affront to Christian values—“Grosse Point” for its saturated violence, “Romy” for its recurring sexual innuendo. Both films offer a sarcastic attitude toward high school that fits the maturity level of a junior high-school dropout. And I seriously doubt anyone stays the same forever, much less ten years after a specified point in life. We all change.
Yet, there’s a few legitimate themes in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”, including honesty and integrity. When Romy (Mira Sorvino), a cashier at a car dealership, and Michele (Lisa Kudrow), who’s unemployed, learn of their imminent reunion, they fret at what their former classmates would think of their lives now. Consequently, they concoct false personas in an attempt to impress everyone.
The whole premise is practically ripped from a bad television sit-com, though the movie’s perkier than Katie Couric. The title actresses, Sorvino and Kudrow, make the most out of a screenplay that gives us such cardboard-cutout characters as the school misfit (Janeane Garofalo), Miss Popularity (Julia Campbell), Miss School Spirit (Camryn Manheim), and the class nerd destined to be the next Bill Gates. we’re also given insight as to who in high school really was happy, then and now.
If you didn’t grow up in the 1980’s, you may not understand a lot of the in-jokes of Romy and Michele. The soundtrack is a major part of the movie—particularly 1980’s staples like The Go-Go’s, Wang Chung, and especially Cyndi Lauper. In other words, if none of that music rings a bell, don’t waste your money on this movie—you won’t like it and will likely be offended.
“Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” is rated “R” for profanity and recurring sexual innuendo. Parents, please note this IS NOT a kid’s movie. Incidentally, as someone who went to school in Tucson, Arizona (go Wildcats!), I’ve never heard of a “Sagebrush High” and don’t recognize any of the scenery.
Year of Release—1997