Michele's High School Reunion (1997)
The various situations in which the protagonists find themselves, the sorts of persons they encounter, and the resolutions to their troubles are invariably predictable. The moviegoer will thus hardly be surprised to see how the now sexy pair were once awkward teenagers who were bullied and humiliated by the more popular girls, how they disdained those lower on the social pecking order than themselves, how the popular girls continue to mistreat Romy and Michele when the pair arrive at the reunion, how these same vixens get their comeuppance, how the school's nerds have been extremely financially successful as adults, how these persons come to the protagonists' aid, and so on. As trite and hackneyed as all these elements are, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion is bursting with such a frenetic appeal that each of its rehashed scenarios is actually both enjoyable and involving.
This sense of vibrant fun is considerably enhanced by the film's buoyant soundtrack, which makes use of various songs that were popular in the 1980s. While one or another of these is playing, the heroines parade past throngs of their classmates, dance in crowded clubs, or march through some shop or other location while dressed in skintight, skimpy outfits. Thanks to such visual and aural qualities, much of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion feels more like a music video than it does like most other movies. Fortunately, this approach almost always works.
What is more, both the leads so suffuse their characters with a ditzy, vaguely quirky charm and so bring out their own sexiness by emphasizing their physical attributes that Romy and Michele, whatever their limitations, do come across as likeable individuals. Admittedly, virtually every other character in the film is a completely forgettable caricature, but, be this as it may, since they have been included in the movie merely to further the heroines' story, their being so is never distracting. Whether these individuals are presented as snobbish, cruel socialites who torment the protagonists, as hunkish jocks for whom they lust, or as socially maladroit nerds who, in the end, provide the central characters' salvation, their being exaggerated parodies actually adds to the film's odd appeal.
I cannot say that Romy and Michele's High School Reunion is more than a silly diversion, but it is often funny and is almost always entertaining.
Review by Keith Allen
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