Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)
Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion has the vibe of one of those movies they make out of Saturday Night Live properties, and we mean that in the nicest possible way. Alas, most of those SNL movies weren’t “conventionally successful” or “a good idea” or “tolerable.” (Trivia: the execrable A Night at the Roxbury made more than three times as much money as minor masterpiece Macgruber, and so lacking justice here we can only hope to be justified in the world to come.) But they established a recognizable style and rhythm of movie comedy that never really took hold outside of their own IP.
Except, arguably, for this. Romy & Michele wasn’t based on a sketch everybody spent Monday morning repeating in the break room; it was born of a stage play called Ladies Room, which became a failed TV pilot called Just Temporary, and it’s since been adapted into a prequel TV movie and a stage musical. None of those other versions really works! So why did it work this time? There’s the sparkly charisma of the two leads, for one. Nostalgia is evergreen, too; this movie is almost 25 years old now, but we’re still out here longing for the ’80s. But the real magic lies in the fact that Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion is a film of ideas. As Legally Blonde is a movie about being underestimated and defying expectations, and Clueless is about hubris and learning to live authentically, and Mean Girls is about how girls can be mean, Romy & Michele is about being ashamed of not living up to your dreams, and compromising yourself to impress others. It’s about real friendship being more valuable than fake romance. It’s not A Night at the Roxbury; it’s Frozen. And it will be relevant forever.
Also the soundtrack. Really solid soundtrack.
So join REWIND for the Cool Ranch Doritos of Valley-girl rom-coms. Maybe write the date on a little piece of paper and secure it somewhere you’ll notice it, with tape or a magnet or whatever?