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The ‘Romy and Michele’s Failed Forgotten Fiasco of a Prequel Falters Miserably

A Still From Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (Photo: High School Reunion)

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, a cult classic released in 1997, remains a cherished favorite among fans. However, the 2005 TV movie prequel, Romy and Michele: In the Beginning, fails to impress, saddling itself with a script that meanders aimlessly and a storyline riddled with transphobic and problematic undertones.

The film follows Romy and Michele as they graduate high school in 1987 and go on a journey to Los Angeles, dreaming of becoming backup dancers for Paula Abdul. But after watching Pretty Woman, they suddenly decide to become prostitutes, a choice that precipitates their arrest and, subsequently, a stint in jail. It is here that they meet Donna, an openly transgender woman who takes them under her wing. The girls also encounter two men, Chad and Taylor, who, due to their acquaintance with Donna, assume they are drag queens. This transphobic narrative is played for laughs, but instead comes across as cruel and harmful.

A Still From Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (Photo: High School Reunion)

Despite the valiant efforts of Katherine Heigl and Alexandra Breckenridge in their respective roles, the film’s numerous flaws cannot be overlooked. The script is uneven, the characters are poorly developed, and the story is peppered with cheap laughs and ridiculous situations. Even the reliably talented Paula Abdul is relegated to a minor cameo role.

It is perplexing to consider why the pilot was never picked up, given its plethora of problems. Perhaps it is for the best, as a full series order could have potentially led to even more issues. As it stands, Romy and Michele: In the Beginning is a bizarre relic, a product of its time that is best left forgotten. Fans of the original film would be wise to stick with the beloved classic, rather than this misguided prequel.

Koushik Ghorai
Written By

Koushik is a cinephile residing in Delhi, India. He specializes in dissecting classic films and contemporary cinema trends. Contact him at [email protected].

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