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May 14, 1997 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-05-14

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Wedndsday, May 14, 1997 -jThdt Mimhii Dai(-11
Kudrow, Sorvino dumb down stereotypical 'Reunion'

By Julia Shih blonde airheads with no real jobs or
Daily Arts Writer boyfriends, they attempt to cook up a plan
to impress their former classmates.
'Tis the season for those long-anticipat- Upon arriving at the reunion, they partake
ed and highly dreaded high school in such activities as pretending to be suc-
reunions. But before you hit the panic but- cessful businesswomen, meeting up with
ton and the local weight-loss center, you old crushes and crushees, and having a
should be happy to know that Hollywood showdown wit],their high school archneme-
has been gracious enough sis, only to discover
to provide the general the importance of true
public with films that will R E V I E W friendship.
ease your reunion blues. Romy and The characters of
If you've been fairly 1l Michele's High Romy and Michele
successful since your are as stereotypical as
graduation and are in the the fashion-eccentric
mood for a movie that ** characters from
gives you a profound look "Clueless" and as
at examining your life, At Briarwood and Showcase silly as the boys from
then check out John "Dumb and Dumber."
Cusack's hit "Grosse Pointe Blank." But if The twosome fit the classic images of
you are a former high school geek who dumb blondes, whether they are working
wants some brainless fluff about losers out on treadmills in platform shoes or con-
going back to their reunion as grown-up cocting an outrageous story about being
losers, then "Romy and Michele's High the inventors of Post-It Notes. Kudrow's
School Reunion" should succeed in boost- character, Michele, does say more than
ing your ego. "okay" as seen from the previews, but not
Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow play much more.
Romy and Michele, two women living in The other characters are also stereotypi-
Los Angeles who are due for their 10-year cal, from the high school bitch-queen
reunion in Tucson, Ariz. But a's a couple of returning 10 years later as the bitch-queen

housewife, and the school science geek
becoming a rich inventor who isn't half as
bad-looking. The classic theme of the peo-
ple from the out-group returning as more
successful than the people from the in-
group is designed to please everyone in the
audience who wasn't a high school god or
goddess:
Sorvino and Kudrow give goodperfor-
mances, but Janeane Garofalo's portrayal
of a cynical, eyeliner-drenched social out-
cast steals the show. Her bitterness and sar-
casm give her scenes an extra spark, but
unfortunately, she's not in enough of the
movie to save it from its own stupidity.
"Romy and Michele" does have occasion-
al humor-filled moments caused by the
antics of the two main characters, but over-
all the movie's overwhelming silliness and
final descent into overpowering cheese will
send people into dizzying fits of nausea.
So if you're looking for an entertaining
reunion movie that will ease your fears
about your own reunion, you'd better..pass
on "Romy and Michele's High School
Reunion" and stick with "Grosse Pointe
Blank." It's better to see a well-done movie
involving murder and a reunion, than to
witness the murder of a movie about a
reunion.

Romy and Michele model some classic '80s fashions.

Comedian DeGeneres' character 'Ellen'
comes out in acclaimed sitcom episode'°,

By Julia Shih
Daily Arts Writer
"You think I'm giving off some sort
of gay vibe?"
On April 3D, this and many other
questions were posed and answered by
character Ellen Morgan in a hilarious
one-hour special episode of ABC's
"Ellen."
In the episode we had all been wait-
ing for, fans of "Ellen" were treated to
an hour of celebrity guest stars, a comic
extravaganza and Ellen's monumental
and "loud" announcement that she is
gay.
As Ellen's therapist (played by
Oprah Winfrey) noted after Ellen had a
meaningful dream: "Ellen, if you keep
this to yourself, you're just going to
continue having these dreams. And
then it's going to start showing up in
your waking life as these little clues
that get more and more obvious and
eventually tiresome."
This quote whimsically referred to
the past season of "Ellen," where each
episode contained various innuendoes
about Ellen's sexual orientation and
audiences eagerly awaited the big
announcement.
When the telling episode finally
aired, it was done impressively, with
poise, integrity and a great deal of
humor. Director Gil Junger and writ-
ers Mark Driscoll, Dava Savel, Tracy
Newman and Jonathan Stark cleverly
focused on comedy in order to avoid
the episode coming off as "heavy" or
sermon-like. The episode treated thq
subject lightly and non-patroniaingly

in a manner appropriate for a sitcom, Melissa Etheridge, who presented
and it addressed realistic issues with- Susan with a toaster oven for "recruit-
out being dismissive. ing" another lesbian.
One prime example of this is the Though television has its share of
exchange between Ellen and her thera- gay characters, from Ross' lesbian
pist after she realizes that she's gay. ex-wife on "Friends" to Doug
Ellen described her vision of a normal Savant's character on "Melrose
life as the "same thing everybody Place," Ellen Morgan is the first lead-
wants. I want a house with a picket ing character in television history to
fence. A dog, a cat, Sunday barbeques, come out of the closet. The ratings
someone to love, someone who loves for the April 30 episode of "Ellen"
me, someone I can build a life with. I were as high as expected, but the
just want to be happy." overall ramifications of Ellen's decla-
The therapist asked, "And you think ration remain to be seen.
you can't have these things with a For Ellen DeGeneres, the comedi-
woman?" an/actress who plays Ellen Morgan, the
Ellen answered, "Well, society has a episode contained many occurrences
pretty big problem with it, you know? which resembled her real-life experi-
There are a lot of people out there who ence of coming out of the closet. She
think people like me are sick ... oh stated in an interview with ABC's
God, why did I ever rent "Personal "PrimeTime Live" that she feels lucky
Best?" that her family has accepted her sexual
Responded Oprah's character, orientation, though acceptance did not
"You can't blame this on the media, come without some painful incidents.
Ellen." According to "PrimeTime Live," a
The episode began with guest star government statistic states that a gay
Laura Dern ("Jurassic Park"), whose teen-ager is about three times as like-
character Susan causes Ellen to reassess ly to attempt suicide as another teen-
her sexuality. Ellen undergoes heavy ager. DeGeneres said that whatever
denial (she declares to a man, "I guess happens to her, the coming-out
I'm just a sucker for man-woman sex") episode was, in part, to make an
before accidentally broadcasting to appeal to those teens to hold on.
Susan and a crowded airport terminal Despite the publicity blitz sur-
over the PA. system that she's gay. rounding Ellen Morgan's announce-
Rounding-out the episode, Ellen awk- ment, life will go on normally for
wardly tells her closest friends her sex- DeGeneres and her real-life partner,
ual orientation in a funny and buoyant actress Anne Heche.
scene. And what will television's first lead-
Other guest stars included k.d. ing lesbian character do now?
n D hg gh, kam, I B As lien Mo n oke to r t r-

Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres, left) revealed her sexual orientation in the April 30 epi-
sode of "Ellen," which also starred Laura Dem.

/

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