TV Article

'Friends' in Low Places

With the NBC buddies' movies now on tape, the sexy sextet is back on the small screen — where most of them belong

With Romy and Michele's High School reunion, Lisa Kudrow joins her fellow TV Friends attempting to make the leap to the big screen. The project must have looked promising on paper — teaming up with freshly minted Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) in a kind of Valley Girl takeoff on Thelma & Louise. Too bad the final product wound up playing more like Beavis and Butt-head with breasts. At least Kudrow isn't alone in her career plight. So far the Friends haven't fared all that well on celluloid, with the notable exception of Courteney Cox, who helped scare up big crowds with the slasher hit Scream. The lesson to be gleaned from all this: Rather than grabbing up a cinematic lead that isn't too much of a stretch from your prime-time image, it might be wiser in the long run to take a change-of-pace supporting part in a good movie. Oh, and one other bit of free advice: Don't quit your day jobs, kids.

Lisa Kudrow

ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION (1997, Touchstone, R, $103.99)

FRIENDS ROLE: Ethereal, folk-singing airhead Phoebe Buffay Movie role: Materialistic, jobless airhead Michele Weinberger

SAMPLE SCENE: En route to their 10-year reunion in Tucson, Ariz., L.A. dim bulbs Romy and Michele get into a spat over who is the ''Rhoda'' and who is the ''Mary'' (i.e., the cute one).

POTENTIAL FOR MOVIE STARDOM: If Kudrow hopes to break out of ditsville, this probably won't do it. Then again, Goldie Hawn has played dumb for 30 years. B-

IS IT WORTH A VIDEO RENTAL? With its TV pedigree (writer Robin Schiff of Almost Perfect, director David Mirkin of The Simpsons), R and M is well suited to the square screen. But the characters are more fitting for an SNL skit than for a movie. C

Matt LeBlanc

ED (1996, Universal, PG, $14.98)

FRIENDS ROLE: Struggling minor-league actor Joey Tribbiani

MOVIE ROLE: Struggling minor-league pitcher Jack Cooper

SAMPLE SCENE: Jack loses it when his roommate, a chimp who plays third base on his team, stinks up his bathroom and trashes his place: ''I'm gonna spank that monkey!''

POTENTIAL FOR MOVIE STARDOM: Not much, but playing second banana to a simian didn't work for fellow sitcom lunkhead Tony Danza (in 1981's Going Ape!), either. Maybe LeBlanc's role in the Lost in Space remake will send his film career into orbit. Just don't let any monkeys on board. D

IS IT WORTH A VIDEO RENTAL? Doesn't do the job as a video babysitter; even my 18-month-old son could tell that the amazingly fake-looking Ed was a little person in a monkey suit. F

Jennifer Aniston

SHE'S THE ONE (1996, FoxVideo, R, $99.99)

FRIENDS ROLE: Confused, poufy-haired girlfriend Rachel Green Movie role: Confused, poufy-haired wife Renee Fitzpatrick

SAMPLE SCENE: Unable to capture the sexual attention of her philandering husband (Mike McGlone), Renee retreats to the bathroom with a vibrator.

POTENTIAL FOR MOVIE STARDOM: Stuck with underwritten roles in She's the One and 'Til There Was You, Aniston took her first comic lead in last summer's Picture Perfect. Julia Roberts didn't lose any sleep, but Meg Ryan might have. B

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