Film / Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

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Romy and Michele's High School Reunion is a 1997 Buddy Picture comedy directed by David Mirkin, starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow.

Romy White (Sorvino) and Michele Weinberger (Kudrow), two slacker friends now living in Los Angeles, decide to attend their High School Reunion in Tuscon. In order to prove their classmates — who'd dismissed them as bimbos and losers — wrong, they pretend to be successful business women. Hilarity Ensues.

Something of a '90s Cult Classic, it also stars Janeane Garofalo, Alan Cumming, Camryn Manheim, Julia Campbell, Vincent Ventreska and Justin Theroux.

A prequel Made-for-TV Movie entitled Romy and Michele: In the Beginning aired on ABC Family in 2005 starring Katherine Heigl as Romy and Alex Breckenridge as Michele.


This film provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Lisa Luder.
  • All Just a Dream: About a quarter of the movie.
  • Alpha Bitch: Christie, even years after high school.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Averted. The light-hearted comedy has no sex, nudity, or violence but got slapped with an R rating because it had too many bad words. The filmmakers refused to change the dialogue and kept the rating. Lisa Kudrow criticized the MPAA for their decision while promoting the film, and when released in the UK some of the F-words were removed to get a 12 rating for the theatrical release.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Averted. The characters who are happy and fulfilled are all bachelors and bachelorettes who focused on their careers. Christie, (what's left) of her clique and their husbands have devoted themselves to being parents, but they've achieved very little outside of that. Christie and Billy have marital problems and her friends secretly doubt themselves.
  • Be Yourself: An In-Universe version, when Michele tells Romy she didn't want to pretend anything, and just be who they were. They try it, and the reunion goes better for them.
  • Catchphrase: Heather telling Toby "Fuck off!".
  • The Chain of Harm: Heather is surprised to learn that the protagonists, who she'd resented at school, were in turn looked down on by the "A group". She's delighted to learn that she herself had consistently made another girl at school feel miserable.
  • Class Reunion: Duh.
  • Conversational Troping: The movie opens with Romy and Michele watching Pretty Woman and commenting on one of the Tear Jerker scenes. They are also rather Genre Savvy about their own genre: High School movies and comedy movies in general.
  • Cool Loser: Heather in high school. 10 years later she's overcome the loser aspect.
    • Romy and Michelle to a lesser extent. They were never popular at school and haven't done much with their lives, but they know how to have fun.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: Romy and Michele's claim to be "successful businesswomen" lacks a few vital details; such as what business they are in.
  • Cult Soundtrack: Although the film takes place in 1997, the flashbacks and overall focus on reminiscing about high school scores it a soundtrack largely comprised of '80s pop classics. Deliberately invoked by Romy when she makes a mixtape of nostalgic songs to listen to on the drive to the reunion.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As usual, Janeane Garofalo's character.
  • Distant Finale: Parodied and subverted. After the dream reunion, the film cuts to seventy years later where Romy and Michele are still not speaking to each other. Michele then wakes up.
  • Dumb Blonde: Dumb but loveable Romy and Michele (the latter more so). Hell, the Tag Line for this film is "The Blonde Leading The Blonde."
  • The '80s: The flashbacks to high school, replete with heavy examples of...
  • '80s Hair: Romy and Michele in particular were into experimental, Madonna-inspired 'dos (although one of the 'dos came from Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition tour). Romy accidentally whips Michele multiple times with her three-foot-long bleached-blonde top-of-the-head ponytail while twirling at the prom.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Christie grabs and eats Romy's hamburger at lunch in high school to humiliate her.
  • Eureka Moment: A magazine spread with models posing as CEOs gives Romy the idea to pretend to be successful businesswomen for the reunion.
  • Feigning Intelligence: They try to pases themselves off as inventors of the Post-It note... it doesn't work out so well
  • Fiction 500: Sandy has become a very successful and wealthy guy that he has houses in Aspen and Acapulco,a mansion in Malibu,a penthouse in New York,a yacht,a Bentley,a personal trainer,a full-time chef,a masseuse,and the staff of 24.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Michele's pink dress is trimmed with pink feathers.
  • Foreshadowing: Teenage!Lisa tentatively expressing approval for Romy and Michele's Madonna-esque fashion stylings in high school (even if she then qualifies it under Christie's withering stare). Years later, at the reunion, Lisa is a fashion editor and very much more confident about her own opinion.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Lisa Luter, by the time of the reunion.
  • Future Loser: Billy Christiansen takes the gold: going from popular hunky jock dating the popular girl in school, to a slobby failure who nails drywall for a living and whose wife is pregnant with (he suspects) another man's kid. And he still thinks he can bed Romy since she had a thing for him back in the day, even though the last time they saw each other he publicly humiliated her for a laugh.
    • Christie deserves a mention too. She carried on her spiteful Alpha Bitch ways 10 years beyond highschool, retaining her Girl Posse who copy her every move, so she never grew out of her teenage bullying- but the reunion reveals her life is a pathetic shell of her past glories. She's an unfulfilled housewife with an unhappy marriage to an unfaithful sleazy loser, her only outlet in life is having baby after baby (which she pretends to be thrilled about) she never got the career she wanted, and to add insult to injury, all the people she tormented in highschool are happy and fulfilled, and the minion she used to boss around has a high flying career in fashion.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Romy and Toby. Also, Michele's love interest Sandy.
  • Girl Posse: Christie, Cheryl, Kelly, and Lisa. Lisa, however, left the group and made a name for herself as the associate editor of Vogue, while Christie, Cheryl, and Kelly were content to be married, with children, and pregnant.
  • Happily Married: Christie and Billy.
    • Totally averted; when Romy and Michele encounter Billy, now an overweight alcoholic, outside of the reunion, he reveals that the "successful real estate development career" that Christie had touted him as having consists of nothing more than laying drywall for Christie's father's construction company, and that he doubts that the baby that Christie's carrying is actually his. He then propositions Romy for sex; she tells him to go wait for her in his hotel room naked, which he does eagerly, but she instead leaves with Michele and Sandy in Sandy's helicopter, having gotten revenge for a similar prank Billy and Christie played on her in high school.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Sandy Frink, having become a suave billionaire. Applies both in Michele's dream, where he's had plastic surgery, and in real life, where he's simply dressed sharply, has a slick haircut, and is much more confident and assertive..
    • Applies to Heather Mooney as well.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Romy and Michele to a T.
  • High School: "Well, duh!"
  • Informed Judaism: Michele.
  • Inventor of the Mundane: Michele claims she invented Post-It Notes; it's a lie to try to impress her old high school classmates). Sandy invents some kind of special rubber that's put on tennis shoes which makes him very successful and Heather invents cigarette paper that burns twice as fast which also makes her quite successful (with her buying a Jaguar as a hint to her success).
  • Jerk Jock: Billy Christiansen, in that his Dumb Jock qualities and loyalty to Christie allow her to provoke him into being as cruel as she is.
  • Kissing Cousins: Michele lost her virginity to her cousin Barry.
  • Los Angeles
  • Marilyn Maneuver: The downdraft from Sandy's helicopter gives Christine a very impressive one as the heroines leave.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: An interpretive dance between three people as an act of rebellion in their high school reunion, and then taking off in a helicopter.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Heather was "very much in love" with Sandy Frink in high school, but her years-old feelings for him finally dissolve at the reunion when she sees how slick and well-groomed he's become.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Michele switches to a pink dress at the reunion.
  • Precision F-Strike: The "flying" variety is memorably used by Romy in her takedown of Christie.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Romy in high school.
  • Rebel Relaxation: The Cowboy.
  • Right Through the Wall: Romy gets to borrow the Cool Car in return for closing the office blinds and faking The Immodest Orgasm with the mechanic so his colleagues can hear.
  • Rousing Speech: When Romy loses all her confidence at the reunion, it's easygoing Michele who delivers one of these, to their mutual surprise:
    Michele: Romy, can I tell you the truth? I never knew that we weren't that great in high school. I mean, we always had so much fun together...I thought high school was a blast! And until you told me that our lives weren't good enough, I thought everything *since* high school was a blast. I think we should go back out there as ourselves, and just have fun like we always do. The hell with everyone else!
    Romy: I don't think I can.
    Michele: [smiling, but clearly exasperated] Well, do you think you can stop being such a baby? God! I feel like I've been, like, chasing you all over this reunion. We have come all this way, now we are going to enjoy ourselves whether you like it or not!
    Romy: [startled] God, Michele...I've never seen this side of your personality before. You're so bossy and domineering. I like it!
    Michele: [grinning] Me too!
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Christie Masters-Christiansen.
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Michele comes up with a Technobabble explanation for her invention of "a special kind of glue" which is so plausible and off-the-cuff (see Throw It In, below) that she even surprises herself. Shame it was All Just a Dream.
  • The Slacker: Rare female example.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": One L in Michele, people.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Heather Mooney to both Romy and Michele. Between the friends themselves, Romy is more determined, savvy, and assertive, making her a Tomboy to ditzy, easygoing Michele's Girly Girl.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Romy to Christie. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    What the hell is your problem, Christie? Why the hell are you always such a nasty bitch? I mean, okay, so Michele and I did make up some stupid lie! We only did it because we wanted you to treat us like human beings. But you know what I realized? I don't care if you like us, 'cause we don't like you. You're a bad person with an ugly heart, and we don't give a flying fuck what you think!
  • Threesome Subtext: Sandy still has a crush on Michele, but doesn't bat an eyelid at her insistence that Romy dance with them as well. At the end, all three of them leave the reunion in his helicopter.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Lisa Luder, by the time of the reunion. She is genuinely impressed by the lines and use of color in Romy and Michele's homemade club dresses, and tells Christie to let Cheryl and Kelly express their own opinions when Christie insists that "they" still think the dresses are hideous.
  • True Blue Femininity: Romy switches to a blue dress at the reunion.
  • Valley Girl: Very much so, aside from the fact that they aren't wealthy.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Michele and Sandy, Billy and Christie.
  • You're Just Jealous / You Keep Telling Yourself That: In the conversation between the Alpha Bitch and a former member of the Girl Posse:
    Christie: You're just jealous. Because unlike a certain ball-busting dried up career woman, I might mention, we're all HAPPILY MARRIED!
    Lisa Luder: That's right, Christie. Keep telling yourself that.

Romy and Michele: In the Beginning provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Michele apparently started dying her hair dark brown very soon after graduation.
  • Adorkable: Alex Breckenridge's version of Michele, complete with Girlish Pigtails and adorable pyjamas.
  • As Herself: Paula Abdul.
  • Brainless Beauty: Vain, airheaded supermodel Linda Fashionbella (played by Kelly Brook).
  • Doomed by Canon: Based on the first movie Romy and Michele cannot end up famous or in serious relationships.
  • The '90s: Except for the opening scene at Romy and Michele's graduation the movie is set in 1990.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Romy and Michele mistake the two guys living next door to them as gay when they are just roommates. In turn the guys mistake Romy and Michele for drag queens!
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot / The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Made in 2002 as a pilot (which didn't sell) and shelved for three years before ABC Family aired it.

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