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Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on December 15, 2013

Look, I’m not blind to this movie’s flaws.  The characters are one-note and the closest thing to an “arc” is that Romy learns that she doesn’t have to impress anyone.  The dream sequence goes on for a really long time.  Also, this dream is meant to present a ludicrous ideal to contrast with what really happens… and then what actually happens is also — in some ways — ludicrous and idealized.  The bad guys of the movie (Julia Campbell and Vincent Ventresca) are taken down far too cheaply.  Michele’s sudden acceptance of Sandy Frink is a little suspect and icky.  And it’s just too easy to put a back brace on Lisa Kudrow and a half-inch of padding on Mira Sorvino and call them high school outcasts.  If your worst memory of high school humiliation is a couple of magnets on your back, you’re not doing so bad.

But goddamn it, I love this movie anyway.  It makes me smile.  It’s a lovely example of friendship and self-acceptance.  Romy and Michele manage to be kind of dim and kind of shallow and yet still extremely likable.  I love Lisa Kudrow (who never got the career she deserved, IMHO) and Janeane Garafolo, seeing them in anything is almost always a pleasure.  What’s more, this movie actually makes me like Mira Sorvino and Alan Cumming, both actors I usually have big problems with.  It’s just fun and charming and funny and it goes to a few unexpected places and it makes me feel good.  It hits a certain sweet spot with me in a way that light comedies rarely do.

I don’t really have “guilty pleasures”.  I don’t feel guilty at all about loving this film, and many of the flaws I listed at the start of this review aren’t really flaws at all.  One-note characters suit a light comedy of this ilk very well.  There is enough ambiguity in what happens with Michele and Sandy that it could be quite innocuous.  And isn’t the point that Michele makes in her speech to Romy that they really didn’t have it so bad in high school?  I’ll go to bat for Romy and Michele… they deserve better than the lousy 5.9 score they currently have on IMDb.  Rating: Very Good (85)


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