Tuesday 13 June 2017

Movie Review: Romy And Michele's High School Reunion (1997)

An unfunny comedy, Romy And Michele's High School Reunion celebrates dumbness with predictably vacuous results.

Originally from Tucson, dumb blondes Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) are best friends now living as roommates in Los Angeles. Ten years out of high school, Romy is a lowly receptionist at an auto dealership, Michel is unemployed, and neither have a boyfriend. Romy bumps into former classmate Heather (Janeane Garofalo) and learns that the 10 year class reunion is coming up.

Romy and Michele take a trip down memory lane and recall that they were outcasts at high school, not belonging to any group, shunned by the pretty girl clique commanded by Christie Masters (Julia Campbell), and ignored by the hunky Billy Christensen (Vincent Ventresca). However the nerdy Sandy Frink (Alan Cumming) did have a crush on Michele. Romy and Michele decide to attend the reunion despite what they now perceive as a post-school sad life, and invent an unlikely story of career success to cover-up their shortcomings, resulting in unexpected consequences.

Slumming near the bottom of the comedy barrel, director David Mirkin and writer Robin Schiff choose the easiest possible stereotypical targets in the clueless blondes with mush for brains. Romy and Michele are all blank stares and stilted monosyllabic dialogue. Credit to Sorvino and Kudrow for bringing these two women to life, but for what purpose?

The jokes are bland, the situations contrived, the argument between the lifelong friends artificial. The set-up seems to take forever and includes a detour to a fantasy scene designed to artificially prolong the running time to cinematic length. When the real big reunion finally arrives a solid hour into the 90 minute film, there is no payoff. The laughs are forced, the humour barely above schoolyard level and exactly one character appears to have matured in 10 years, a pretty depressing collective achievement. The "be yourself" message is comprehensively dead on arrival.

In the absence of a single person worth catching up with, Romy And Michele's High School Reunion is a dull yawner.

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