A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that most of the common curse words ("f--k," "s--t") get a workout here. The main characters lie about their accomplishments to impress others and seem to believe that appearances are more important than hard work, good intentions, and decency. Michele is so intent on borrowing a Jaguar to impress former classmates that she audibly pretends to have sex with a man who owns a nice car so he can elevate his image in the view of their eavesdropping coworkers. A married alcoholic suggests he and Romy take a hotel room to have sex. One character, who used to grab a secret smoke between classes in high school, makes her fortune in the cigarette business.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) have remained best friends for the 10 years since high school in Tucson, Arizona. Now living together in a cramped apartment in Los Angeles, where they moved to have cooler lives, one is a cashier at a Jaguar dealership and the other is unemployed. To their dismay, neither has a boyfriend. They make their own clothes and go dancing, having a good time and complimenting each other profusely. Heather, a former classmate who made it big inventing fast-burning cigarette paper, alerts them to the imminent reunion. In anticipation of the event, they head to the gym, make new clothes, invent impressive résumés, and borrow a Jaguar to improve their image in the eyes of other alums. In all the activity and as they review their accomplishments, they come to realize that they may not actually be as wonderful as they had previously thought themselves to be. Embarrassment and triumph await them at the reunion, and although they come to value their friendship even more than before, it's not clear that they are any less superficial than when they started.
Is it any good?
This is a pleasant enough diversion, but it falls into the category of stupid people struggling with their stupidity. Some may find this taxing even in the face of solid performances and occasional clever plot turns. The moral, if this movie has one, seems to be that ignorance can be bliss and that bliss, rare as it is, should not be dismissed lightly. But parents may be concerned about the main characters' obsession with the superficial: looks, body size, clothes, attracting cute guys, driving fancy cars, and having impressive jobs. Romy and Michele lie to their classmates about their work, claiming they invented Post-its, to show their lives have amounted to something since graduation 10 years before. Their lies are exposed and, to their credit, they maintain their dignity in the face of ridicule, but the Post-it story is so outrageous that you may feel ridicule is deserved. Nevertheless, one main character seems to achieve a happily-ever-after with a rich suitor who used to be the class nerd. Somehow the girls ultimately take pride in knowing that they're basically happy souls who didn't really know that they had reason to be disappointed in themselves until the reunion raised the issue.
Mira Sorvino as Romy is funny, a Harvard graduate in real life playing someone decidedly slow on the uptake. Lisa Kudrow, also known for her intelligence, is covering familiar ground, her performance reverberating with her Phoebe character, a hilarious but slightly different kind of dope she played in the long-running sitcom Friends.
Perhaps this is all meant to be a send-up of living the shallow life, but children will have to be exceptionally sophisticated to see this as social satire.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether personal happiness can be more important than material success.
Romy and Michele lie about their achievements to impress others. Is it ever worth the risk of lying to impress others?
People change as they grow older. What do you think you will be like at your high school reunion? What about your friends?
- In theaters: January 8, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: January 5, 1999
- Cast: Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, Janeane Garafolo, Alan Cumming, Camryn Manheim
- Director: David Mirkin
- Studio: Touchstone Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Rated R for language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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