Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Romy &
Michele’s High School
by David Mirkin seems to be a sort of female version of Dumb and
about two dumb blondes, Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa
Kudrow), who have lived together since high school, had no success to speak of,
but return to their tenth reunion determined to pretend to their classmates that
they are great successes. In fact, that they invented
notes. The problem is, as it is with virtually all Hollywood satire (see
Volcano below), that the movie falls for its satirical subjects. Romy and
Michele are utter bubbleheads, but they are lovable and sympathetic when
contrasted with the stuck up
group at high school, led by the snotty Christie Masters (Julie Campbell).

Plausibility is stretched to the breaking point already. The supposedly
beautiful Christie can’t hold a
candle the breathtakingly gorgeous Mira Sorvino—who, we are asked to
believe, was a wallflower in high school and is a wallflower still, unable to
get a decent boyfriend or even a date. At a club she admires one young
man’s Armani suit, but when he tells
her he’s a suit salesman she says:
“Excuse me, I cut my foot before and
my shoe is filling up with blood,” and
hobbles away. But this only points up the larger implausibility born of the fact
that Miss Sorvino radiates intelligence the way that Julia Roberts radiates
stupidity. We just can’t believe in
her as an airhead.

If you can get over that, and the sort of Hollywood smugness that invites us
to admire the outrageousness of two such total moral and intellectual vacancies,
the picture has some fun moments. The charm of Romy and Michele is that they
don’t know
they’re failures and are happy until
the reunion comes along to make them think themselves inadequate. When they
learn of the reunion from another outcast classmate, Heather Mooney (Janeane
Garofalo), they decide that “all we
really need is, like, better jobs and
boyfriends” in order not to look like
such failures. But they cannot get either. Their attempt to lie is a pathetic
failure, though it is not mined for its comic potential either, and is mixed up
with a fight between the two of them over which is the cuter.
the Mary, you’re the
Rhoda,” says Romy. These are fighting

They agree to split up. This leads to a fantasy sequence in which Michele
dreams that their pretense of success succeeds but the two of them remain
estranged until the age of 98, when they still
can’t agree on who is the Mary and who
the Rhoda. The interesting thing is that the real [!] ending is just as fantastical as the fantasy. A high school geek called Sandy
Frink (Allen Cumming) who always had a crush on Michele is now fabulously rich
and descends from the clouds in his private helicopter. He reveals that he still
loves Michele, performs for their delighted classmates a little ballet with both
the girls to the music of Cyndi
“Time after
Time” , helps them to humiliate
Christie in revenge and then sweeps them away in his helicopter. In the end we
find them running their own boutique in which Sandy has set them up.

There is a peculiarly Hollywoodish aspect to the humiliation of Christie, who
is pregnant with her third child and keeps insisting that
“I feel
fulfilled” and
happily married” and not
down” as all the more glamorous and
sympathetic career women seem to suggest she should. One of these, whom Christie
calls “a dried up, ball busting career
woman,” says to her:

right, Christie; you keep telling yourself

The last picture of the reunion is of
helicopter’s prop wash blowing up
Christie’s dress to reveal her
pregnant belly. It should not be surprising to learn that pregnant women, along
with Republicans, are among the diminishing number of those our popular culture
finds it still permissible to ridicule.

Discover more from James Bowman

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Similar Posts