On the small screen. Reviews

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“My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Like its lead characters, ‘Romy and Michele’ fails test of time

The cult hit “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” makes its Blu-ray debut in honor of the film’s 15th anniversary. The humorous story of overcoming hardships and redefining yourself still elicits a fair share of laughs, even if the movie as a whole doesn’t hold up too well. Think of it as the hot high school jock everyone is anxious to see at the reunion only to find he’s let himself go to seed.

Ten years after graduating from high school in Tucson, Ariz., titular BFFs Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) are still inseparable. Sharing a beachfront flat near L.A., they’re the kind of girls who make fun of “Pretty Woman” as they watch it for the 100th time. They get dressed up to go clubbing, order Diet Cokes with extra cherries and end up dancing with each other. When Romy wonders if they’d be better off as lesbians, Michele suggests they have sex to see if they are. Rebuffing Michele, Romy suggests that Michele ask again if they’re still unmarried at 30.

While at work as a cashier at a Jaguar dealership, Romy runs into gruff classmate and fast-burning cigarette paper inventor Heather (Janeane Garofalo). It’s Heather who informs Romy that their 10-year class reunion is approaching. At home, Romy and the unemployed Michele page through their yearbook and reminisce, introducing a series of high school flashbacks. Borderline social pariahs, Romy and Michele were taunted by the “mean girls,” led by Christy (Julia Campbell). Class nerd Sandy (out actor Alan Cumming) is in love with Michele, who won’t give him the time of day. Romy is hot for class stud Billy (Vincent Ventresca), but he only has eyes for Christy.

In spite of such memories, Romy and Michele decide to attend the reunion. But in order to make a better effort at fitting in and making them appear successful, the pair concocts a scheme involving a borrowed Jag and the invention of Post-It Notes.

At the reunion, there are confrontations and humiliations. History is recounted and covers are blown. Expressions of love are given voice and apologies are exchanged. But the high school reunion wouldn’t be Romy and Michele’s if they didn’t exact some sort of revenge and make a triumphant exit.

Not as much fun to watch as when it first came out, “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” is still probably better than attending your own class reunion. Blu-ray bonus material includes a production featurette.

‘Greek Wedding’ still offers big, fat entertainment

Before she made two of the worst movies of 2009 (“My Life in Ruins” and “I Hate Valentine’s Day”), Nia Vardalos wrote and starred in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” perhaps the most successful rom-com ever made. Vardalos’ breakthrough film marks its 10th anniversary with a special edition Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy set.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” stars Vardalos as 30-year-old, unmarried Toula. Her father Gus (Michael Constantine), who considers Windex a cure-all for what ails you and can trace any word back to its Greek root, tells her she’s starting to look old – which he’s been doing since Toula was 15. Still living at home with her father, mother Maria (Lanie Kazan), brother Nico (Louis Mandylor) and itinerant yia yia (grandmother), Toula undergoes a transformation after she enrolls in college to take computer classes. Hired by her travel agent Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin, who steals every scene in which she appears), Toula meets and falls for teacher Ian (John Corbett).

Of course, Toula’s parents (and large extended family) are hesitant about her getting involved with someone who isn’t Greek. But the heart wants what it wants. Ian’s selfless act of being baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church seals the deal and a wedding date is set.

Vardalos effortlessly portrays the highs and lows of growing up in an ethnic household. She mines humor (and some pathos) and makes the experience feel universal. When Toula (and her family) come in contact with Ian’s WASPy clan, the laughs roar.

Still as entertaining as it was 10 years ago, it’s easy to understand why “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was so well received. Bonus features include deleted scenes, the original 2002 audio commentary and the featurette “A Look Back at My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

www.wisconsingazette.com.