Sunday, April 04, 2010


Okay, I’m a little biased because it was written by my ALMOST PERFECT co-creator Robin Schiff, but ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is (as Romy or Michele might say) “a good movie… a really good movie!”

One reason why is that Robin was the only writer on the film. It didn’t get passed around from screenwriter to screenwriter like Marilyn Monroe at a Kennedy family weekend. The voices and attitudes are so clear, so hilarious, and so fresh. Where are you going to hear dialogue like this?

Romy: Swear to God, sometimes I wish I was a lesbian.
Michele: Do you want to try to have sex sometime just to see if we are?
Romy: What? Yeah, right, Michelle. Just the idea of having sex with another woman creeps me out. But if we're not married by the time we're 30, ask me again.
Michele: Okay.

I’m guessing it’s not hard to surmise the plotline of ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION. Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) are two loveable daft losers who attend their tenth reunion and make up stories to impress everyone. Michele encounters fellow classmate, Christie while Romy is with heartthrob Billy:

Christie: So, Mi-chelle! What are you up to?
Michele: Oh, okay. Um, I invented Post-Its.
Christie: No offense, Michele, but how in the world did *you* think of Post-Its?
Michele: Uh...
[looks across the room at Romy talking to Billy Christianson]
Romy: And I thought of them completely by myself. I mean, all Michele did was say: "What about making them yellow?"
Michele: [turns to the A Group] Actually I invented a special kind of glue.
Christie: Oh really? Well then I'm sure you wouldn't mind giving us a detailed account of exactly how you concocted this miracle glue, would you?
Michele: No. Um, well, ordinarily when you make glue first you need to thermoset your resin and then after it cools you have to mix in an epoxide, which is really just a fancy-schmancy name for any simple oxygenated adhesive, right? And then I thought maybe, just maybe, you could raise the viscosity by adding a complex glucose derivative during the emulsification process and it turns out I was right.

What fun goofy stuff! R&M’s worldview is so deliciously askew that the real fun of the movie isn’t following the story (although the story does zip along) but just getting their take on things. Weight for example:

Michele: Remember the prom? You got so thin by then.
Romy: Oh, I know. I was so lucky getting mono. That was like the best diet ever.

Romy: I've been killing myself for eight days and I gained a pound.
Michele: That's impossible. Did you deduct sixteen pounds for your shoes?

Michele: Did you lose weight?
Romy: Actually, I have been trying this new fat free diet I invented. All I've had to eat for the past six days are gummy bears, jelly beans, and candy corns.
Michele: God, I wish I had your discipline.

And one of Robin Schiff’s favorite targets:

Michele: You know, even though we've watched Pretty Woman like thirty-six times, I never get tired of making fun of it.

Romy: Aw, look, poor thing - they won't let her shop. Yeah - like those salesgirls in Beverly Hills aren't bigger whores than she is.

ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION came out in 1997. I guess there could be the sequel showing them at their 20 year reunion. And they could be up to their same old tricks. Instead of Michele saying she invented Post-It’s she could now claim she’s the former governor of Alaska.


kerrikp said...

I want to see it because of Janeane Garofalo's presence in the cast. Afterwards, the friend I took with me hit me and demanded I personally refund what she spent on her ticket. And feed her. But I enjoyed the movie.

Heather Moore said...

I love that movie!

jaykoval said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jaykoval said...

I have been a defender of this film since its release.
And although it has a low rating on IMDB, don't let the prequel, "Romy and Michele: In the Beginning," starring Katherine Heigl and Alexandra Breckenridge, get by you.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I found it un-sit-through-able. And that's saying a lot, given that I was sitting in bed.

Nat G said...

I thought it was strange in a very good way; it felt like someone took a script for a very good cheap-and-cheezy comedy, a stars-a-sitcom-supporting-actor, disappears-in-two-weekends-once-the-teens-see-it flick... and then gave it a real budget and Oscar-winning talent.

Eve said...

I thought it was genius. Such a delicious movie.

Sandy Koufax said...

I can see why "anonymous" was never given a real name. Obviously he or she has no sense of humor. This film is priceless!

Troy said...

This movie is like my own personal "The Sound of Music." Every time I fly, it's right there on my wee iPod to keep me company.

Robin's Romy and Michelle was a spot-on reminder of the kind of gals I palled around high school with in the 80's... the great ones who didn't wear white flats and Pepsi clothes and talk about Rotary Club.

Long live Sandy Frink and his huge notebook. Had Cameron done the film instead of Mirkin, he would have been my avatar.

Ryan said...

all I can say when I saw the movie is schwing!

Cowan said...

Always loves this movie, and think it's much more clever than the naysayers realise (see also: Bring It On. No, really).

Romy and Michelle also provides one of my very favourite lines in the history of film, as Romy is flirting with a smartly-dressed chap:

Romy: Hey, um, great suit. Is that an Armani?
Man: Yes. Yes, it is.
Romy: I thought so. So, what do you do?
Man: I'm a suit salesman.
Romy: Would you excuse me? I cut my foot before and my shoe is filling up with blood.

Tom said...

Not interested.

I'll wait for the book to come out.

A. Buck Short said...

The picture was a pleasant surprise. So is there anybody for whom the first association isn't Post-Its? My only concern, when did your relationship with Robin Schiff turn into 2 degrees of Katherine Heigel?

Incidentally, I didn't think the MLB predictions were THAT earthshaking.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

The idea that the adventures of a couple of vapid So Cal airheads would amuse me is beyond belief, but I'm damned if I didn't enjoy the heck out of this movie. Good call, Ken.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Whenever life gets a little crappy, being reminded that this world includes Mira Sorvino substantially improves my outlook.

wv - skersi - When you're drunk and sort of stupid and trying to squeeze past someone whom you want to impress with your mastery of the Italian language. Or not.

Tom Quigley said...

Never saw the movie, but now that my interest has been piqued will have go out and get a copy of it... I may even have a copy of a ROSEANNE spec that I believe Robin wrote that floated around the TV community when she was breaking into the business. People were showing it at writing workshops as an outstanding example of a showcase sitcom spec... BTW, had a couple of chances to talk with Lisa when she would occasionally come back to MAD ABOUT YOU and reprise her role as Ursula, the ditzy waitress at Raff's... One of the sweetest people there is..

Ian said...

I'd like to second what Ryan said: SCHWING!

I saw this movie because at the time a very blond Mira Sorvina in a short skirt and high heels was my idea of heaven. Come to think of it, some things haven't changed.

Ellen said...

I may be a little biased, too, as Lisa Kudrow is my cousin, but I thought this movie was utterly hilarious. The writing was stellar, and Lisa and Mira were perfect.

I'm still laughing at the Mary Tyler Moore bit ...

David (not Isaacs) said...

Grosse Pointe Blank. Somehow, it just spoke to me more.

Though maybe flipping John Cusak and Lisa Kudrow between the movies would have added something - John as a blonde ditz in a miniskirt and Lisa as an assassin might have worked even better...

(With notes like this, I should work for NBC!)

Steve Axelrod said...

Great movie. I should just add ... the bit about the glue did take place in a dream sequence, which just added to the ultimate humiliation when their ruse was exposed.

Craig M said...

Coincidentally, just last week, the actual inventors of Post-it Notes were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Cowan said...

Good point David, Grosse Point Blank is another fantastic movie from the same period (and on the same theme).

Continuing 'theme association' (Romy + Michelle → high school reunion movies → Grosse Point Blank → movies about hitmen → ...) I would also recommend another underrated classic: The Big Hit, with Mark Wahlberg and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Highly entertaining.

Kevinmacduff7137 said...

Romy & Michelle will have a very long shelf life for the same reason Legally Blonde succeeded (despite a wafer-thin story): the lead characters are eminently likable. Likable will trump cute, smart or sexy every time, especially with Americans.

Aaron B. said...

I love this movie, but it's quirky enough that I'm not surprised when people don't. It combines extremes of innocence and cynicism, and I don't think too many people appreciate both, so they're not sure how to react -- is this supposed to be funny or mean? It nails the high school experience perfectly -- no matter what caste you belong to, there's someone below you to crap on (except for poor Toby). Plus it's got Janeane Garofalo from back when she had that smart/mean/sexy thing going, before she got political. She's perfect in this.

I'd put Grosse Point Blank in the same category, and it's another favorite that I like better with every viewing.