ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: David Mirkin
Stars: Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming, Julia Campbell, Vincent Ventresca, Elaine hendrix, Mia Cottet, Kristin Bauer, Camryn Manheim, Justin Theroux.

Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern before them, Romy and Michele are two minor characters from a play who have taken on a life and identity of their own. Originally created by playwright Robin Schiff for her popular stage play Ladies Room, largely set in the restroom of a Los Angeles singles bar, the marginal characters of Romy and Michele proved to be so successful that the pair have been allowed to step into the limelight in this deliciously funny comedy.

Romy (Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, from Mighty Aphrodite, etc) and Michele (Friends star Lisa Kudrow, reprising her role from the original stage play) have been friends for life and room mates since leaving high school. At school they were always the outsiders, cruelly put down by the beautiful but vapid cheerleaders and the jocks, so when they are invited to a ten year reunion for their former high school they initially set out to impress their former class mates. Realising that their own lives have been uneventful, the pair develop fictitious lives for themselves by trying to create the image of successful business women.

But when they arrive at the reunion they come to realise that their enduring friendship and their natural ability to be themselves without any pretensions or airs and graces has made them better and ultimately more content with their lot than their former tormentors. The old pecking order of those school days has changed, and some of the most unlikely people have succeeded in life magnificently, and the reunion becomes the venue for a delicious revenge by all those former nerds and misfits who found life at high school miserable.

This is all very funny, albeit light weight stuff. Schiff has a remarkable ear for dialogue, and the nuances of the language of her twentysomething characters ring true. Schiff ensures that a strong vein of bitchy humour and marvellously acerbic put downs run through this snappy and sharply written script, although she tends to lay on the strong moral message about the importance of friendship, honesty and being yourself a little thickly.

David Mirkin, an Emmy award winning former comedy writer for television shows, makes his feature film directorial debut here, and he maintains a cracking pace throughout that never allows the gags or the invention to flag. Sorvino and Kudrow work well together and develop a natural rapport and rhythm as Romy and Michele, and their marvellous performances provide a strong focus for this hysterically funny ode to friendship. The sharp tongued Janeane Garofalo (from Bye Bye Love, The Truth About Cats And Dogs, etc) contributes a superb performance as Heather, the bitchy, chain smoking, tough-as-nails rebel, loner and misfit.

Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion also features a great retro ’80’s soundtrack that will strike a chord with many in the audience, possibly bringing back fond memories of those days in the old school yard.

★★★

 

 

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