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Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion


‘…a funny, likable film with strong female characters…’

Power sucks, or certainly the abuse of it does; whether more convictions are the result of the on-going MeToo revolution or not, it’s to be hoped that the film industry will no longer be a place where one evil man can successfully blacklist a wronged woman. Mira Sorvino made accusations of exactly that nature, and her reward was a general blacklisting; it’s pretty much apparent that her career has suffered various undeserved indignities including the straight-up insult of having her father left out of the Oscars’ In Memoriam section earlier this week. Paul Sorvino had 175+ imdb credits in his enviable career, from Reds to Goodfellas; presumably being one of the few men to stand up to disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein has irrevocably tarnished his brand in the eyes of the Academy, since no apology seems forthcoming.

Two years after winning her Academy Award, Sorvino did some of her best work in this Touchstone Pictures comedy which pairs her with Friends star Lisa Kudrow. While everything from Bill and Ted to Dumb and Dumber gets prequels, sequels and reboots, Romy and Michelle seems to have been left on the shelf, and that’s a real shame, because it’s a funny, likable film with strong female characters.The point of origin is a play, Ladies Room by Robin Shiff; one that gave birth to the characters of Romy and Michelle, played by Sorvino and Kudrow respectively.

The tagline, The Blonde leading the Blonde, reflects the fun that’s had with the heroines being somewhat gauche; the gag is that Romy and Michelle are losers, but they resolve to fake it until they make it, specifically because they’re headed home from LA for a high-school reunion which they hope won’t reflect their penury. A chance encounter with Heather Mooney (Janeanne Garofalo) in a Jaguar repair-shop inspires the girls to deceive their old friends and foes alike by pretending to have invented Post-It stickers and other white lies. Of course, the internet hasn’t happened yet, so it’s quite possible to get away with such untruths, since any fact-checking seems to have been an unknown art in 1997.

There’s lots of fun to be with David Mirkin’s film; early roles for Justin Theroux and Alan Cumming, who has a wild dance scene set to Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time in the film’s celebratory climax. But Sorvino and Kudrow have great comic timing, just enough pathos, and two characters who should have spawned a franchise for sure. And this is a story where the girls kick ass, take on the bullies and braggarts, and win in a most satisfactory way. There’s no way to accurately assess the injustice that’s been done to actresses like Sorvino, but giving Romy and Michelle a dust down, or even a sequel, might be a tiny step in the right direction.


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  1. Yes, I’m here to the rescue!

    Been a long time since I’ve seen this, but it goes down with The Heat in the pantheon of films that should have a sequel.

    But then again, sequels nearly always disappoint so maybe this is best just left alone at this point.

    I wrote a post staunchy defending the Oscars last year, and then the slap happened. For the first time ever, I didn’t watch a second of it. Not out of active protest, just sort of…..ennui, I guess.

    I hadn’t even heard about this dust-up about Paul Sorvino being left out off the memory wall and Mira being excommunicated. Baffling.

    • I’ve worked on obituaries and in memorial sequences for the British Academy, and there’s always plenty to agonise about. If you miss out details, it can be mistaken for a negative allusion, so it’s a tricky business. There’s no difficulty in identifying Paul Sorvino as someone who should be on that list, and he’s far more significant a figure that many of those honoured. If he’s committed some unknown crime, let’s hear it; this throws shade on the actor and his family for no reason.

      Barely saw any of the Oscars, maybe ten mins of clips. It’s inessential viewing, and faux pas like this don’t help…

      • If they’ve lost us, who do they have left?

        I used to plan my life around the Oscars! I still remember lying on my door room floor in 2000 screaming because Hilary Swank won over Julianne Moore. How I loved the End of the Affair! No one else around me cared!

        My relationship with the Oscars is much healthier now, but much less fun!

        • The End of the Affair was a good film and book. I’m a keen voter, but have usually lost interest by the time the awards came round. And the front runner most years turned out to be a lying rapist, so that really doesn’t help. But used to watch the whole thing, not just a ten minute clip reel. I guess there must be viewers more loyal than us, but surely we are the target audience?

  2. Sorry Dix I’m with the chaps here on not giving a monkeys for the oscars, hopefully Brian and Melanie will come to your rescue. I don’t think the world needs a new Romy Com, or indeed, any Rom Coms at all ever, though I do know they are good for people other than me so that’s nice. I did like Paul Sorvino, great gangster, and feel sorry for his family that he wasn’t honoured, but I don’t think he cares now.

    • But his family clearly do care, and we shouldn’t not be blacklisting people for standing up to sexism. Watching the movie is not compulsory, but brave people should be supported imho.

  3. Alex pretty much summed up what I was going to focus on.

    But I didn’t like Kudrow in Friends so I suspect I wouldn’t here.

    I’ve heard Sorvinos name but couldn’t say a thing, yay or nay, about her.

    • The Oscar brand, whatever it was, has taken a nose dive largely because it stood by and did nothing while predators like Weinstein bullied and threatened those who challenged their sick rule. Those who stood up against him should be celebrated, not airbrushed from history. Imho.

  4. Does anyone care about the Oscars anymore? Or prize culture more generally? It’s all a joke. Every bit of it.

    Never saw this. Now that know the climax has some dude dancing to Time After Time the chances of my looking for it fell to subzero.

    • I hear you; I was reading someone on twitter disparaging Trump’s number one on ITunes, saying ‘who uses itunes anymore?” and the response was huge in terms of people saying they still use it all the time. All depends on what reality tunnel you specifically inhabit. The Oscars shape thought to an audience of millions, and closing ranks against those who called out abusers (and sufferered for it) isn’t a great look for the Academy.

      • Didn’t Sarah Polley win some award for her movie this year though? I thought the Academy was all about playing this messaging up.

        I haven’t followed the Oscars for years though so I don’t know. They ruined it completely when they switched to having a dozen nominees for every prize.

        • Agree that the 9 best pics nominees waters things down far too much. Polley did win a prize, but that’s the voting members. Nobody votes for who is included in memoriam, the Academy decide, and this decision is tone deaf and reqires unpacking and apologising.

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