From time to time, you come across a movie that basically lives to its title and does very little else. And with Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, you get just that, with the title characters played by the stars of the moment, or at least those from 1997. So with the film celebrating its 15th year of life in the world, has it gotten better with age? Well personally, I have never seen the film until now, which might not be a good thing.
Robin Schiff (Are You There, Chelsea?) adapted a screenplay based on her play, and David Mirkin (Heartbreakers) directed. Romy (Mira Sorvino, Mimic) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow, Friends) were best friends in an Arizona high school who remain so even after both left and moved to Los Angeles. They were teased mercilessly in high school by a clique of popular girls and aspired for a better life for themselves, but it never seemed to pan out. Romy works as a cashier in a car dealership, and Michele...well, she makes her own clothes I think? It doesn't matter, as here about an upcoming 10th high school reunion by an old classmate (played by Janeane Garofalo), and they have an urge to come back and dish out their own particular brand of revenge to the mean girls.
That is basically the gist of Romy and Michele's, and there is no real grand epiphany by many of the characters through the film, or at least the stars are not going to get much of an epiphany because of their general obliviousness to the world outside of themselves. In that clueless nature, they overlook the fact they generally ignore Sandy (Alan Cumming, X2), a lonely nerd in high school who makes a grand return larger than any of them could have expected. As far as the popular girls go, Christie Masters (Julia Campbell, Kicking & Screaming) is the head of the clique, though her role as the main antagonist is just there for presence, she lacks any real factor that makes her truly odious.
This seems to bleed its way over to the protagonists too, or at least one of them. Kudrow and Sorvino have chemistry to them, but any sort of moment designed to lift them or the material just is not there to make them memorable. At least Kudrow throws herself into the material and gets a laugh or two from time to time; Sorvino has the comedic subtlety of a bull in a china shop. Apparently having a deep voice and wearing a goofy outfit here and there is supposed to be funny to her, and if she is to be the more serious one, her assumption of that is just weird. Other random oddities like a quiet man in a cowboy hat and saying things like 'I invented post-its' is trying to be memorable for the sake of doing it, but that misses the point of wanting to be such films in the first place. Those films like Heathers for instance, handle such dialogue organically and on its own, rather than trying to force things onto people. It's the difference between the former still getting quoted after all these years and the latter being unceremoniously dumped onto Blu-ray for the first time.
And through Romy and Michele's, that may be the one thing I got from watching the film more than anything else. If there is any meaningful or resonant moment from the film I did not find it here, and I doubt repeated viewings is going to make me glean it any further. It is what it is at this point, just as it was when it came out. If the film's goal was to make it as forgettable as high school was for many, then maybe it has accomplished its mission.
The Blu-ray Disc:
The film's 1.78:1 widescreen image is replicated in high-definition using the AVC codec, and the results are about as good as expected. The films colors are reproduced accurately, and flesh tones look natural without any hue pushes to them. Black levels are consistent through the film, though the film itself does not lend to any image depth or detail. Film grain is present during viewing, and there does not appear to be any DNR or image processing that would be distracting to viewing. It looks about as good as it's going to.
The DTS-HD MA lossless soundtrack is a somewhat song-heavy production full of the hits of the '80s and they all sound good, and even the rumble of the helicopter near the end of the film includes a bit of subwoofer engagement to round things out. Past those moments dialogue is consistent in the center channel and is well-balanced over the course of the production, though channel panning and directional effects are hard to come by during the feature. All in all this was a better than expected listening experience and worth checking out.
So instead of being an Anniversary Edition that would include a retrospective featurette or something, Touchstone/Buena Vista has ported the supplements from the standard definition version and included trailers for current upcoming movies/Blu-rays on the disc? OK. If you're looking for the extras, only a production featurette (3:34) with some quick cast and crew interviews and a trailer (1:41) are the only things to speak of.
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion seems to have aspirations to be clever, but the reality falls far short of what the intentions are. Technically it is a solid disc and from a bonus perspective is weak, and serves as more of a bait and switch than anything else. If you are interested in double-dipping this title rest assured you are doing it exclusively for the lossless soundtrack which, admittedly, is pretty cool. But otherwise I would not waste the money to do so, nor would I recommend buying it unless you really really like it, and frankly it hasn't gotten better with age.