Mean Girls (2004)

Comedy
Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey
Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.
Funnier and more smartly written than the average teen comedy.
  • Paramount Pictures Company:
  • TV-14 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 30 Apr 2004 Released:
  • 21 Sep 2004 DVD Release:
  • $86.0M Box office:

Trailer:

Best Teen Movie Ever7/10
Lindsay Lohan plays a teen girl trying to get along at a new high school. This time, she plays a girl home schooled in Africa, whose first experience at a public school is marred by a clique of nasty girls called the Plastics, who use gossip and other torture techniques to try to ruin her social life.

The story makes it sound like another generic teen film but this one is actually quite funny and realistic. The most cynical person will point out that this is a cheap rip off of Heathers and they are similar. While Heathers is a good movie, mean Girls is an even better movie. I think Mean Girls is very good for a number of reasons. First, the script is actually creative and smart. Tina Fey seems to understand that teens want comedies they can relate to and she did that with Mean Girls. Of course, there were a few lame scenes but nothing that kills the film. Tina Fey should leave SNL and focus on her career in movies.

Second, the acting is very good and convincing. Rachel McAdams offers the best and funniest performance as Regina. Her character is very mean (hence the title) yet I found it so hard to actually hate her. She has this charm that sucks the audience in on her and its so hard to hate her. Lindsay Lohan also gives a good performance as Cady. Her best scenes are with Rachel. They have very good chemistry together. The other plastics are played by Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried. They also give good performances and the scenes that have all the plastics together are very entertaining. The rest of the supporting cast are pretty good and Tina Fey also has a small role as Cady's math teacher.

Another reason why Mean Girls is so good is because it's actually funny for people over the age of 21. It's not just for teens but also for adults. Mark Waters is proving to be very good at directing harmless comedies like Freaky Friday and this one. He keeps the film short yet enormously entertaining. I really don't understand how someone could actually give this movie a one. I understand some people finding it over the top or stupid but it doesn't deserve a one. In the end, this smart and funny teen movie deserves to be seen. Rating 8/10
Being bad has never been so good....9/10
The teen-movie genre returns with "Mean Girls," and it comes back with a vengeance. What could have been a tired and cliched retread of "Heathers" is actually a clever and witty flick thanks to the talents of screenwriter Tina Fey. Fey, head writer for "Saturday Night Live" and co-anchor of their "Weekend Update," has an amazing flair for satire, and what better way to showcase it than with a analytical glimpse at the world of high school cliques? Lindsay Lohan is Cady, the previously home-schooled daughter of two zoologists, growing up in the African wilderness while Mom and Dad conduct their research. When the 'rents decide to settle down, Cady gets her first taste of public schooling, which is almost as wild as the jungles and safaris she's used to. Cady is introduced to the different factions that populate the cafeteria—including the nympho band geeks, the nerdy Asians, the cool Asians, the varsity jocks and of course, the Plastics, teen royalty led by the manipulative Regina George (Rachel McAdams).

Cady is encouraged to infiltrate the Plastics by her new friends Janice (Lizzy Caplan), a gothy and arty outcast who possesses a Janaene Garafalo-style wit, and the flamboyantly out-and-proud Damian (Daniel Franzese), who fears the Plastics but admires their fabulousness. Cady agrees to the sabotage scheme, but it's not long before she succumbs to the glamorous life of the Plastics and starts to engage in their underhanded activities, such as writing in their "Burn Book," in which nasty (and hilarious) things are jotted down about every girl in their high school.

It all might sound like the typical teen fare, but the result is nothing like that. The cast is surprisingly flawless, from Lohan (who brings a depth to her role that Hilary Duff could only ever dream of achieving) to the entire supporting cast, which is filled with current "SNL" members and alums. Fey herself shows up along with Tim Meadows as sardonic members of the high school faculty, while Ana Gasteyer and Amy Poehler portray parents who just don't understand. Poehler steals every scene she's in as Regina's "cool mom," desperately trying to fit in by doing things like offering minors alcohol at her home, because she'd rather have them drinking there than somewhere else.

The younger members of the cast don't let the veterans walk away with the whole show though. Caplan and Franzese own their roles, Franzese particularly when Damian displays his adulation for Christina Aguilera during a holiday talent show. The other members of the Plastics shine as well. Besides the deliciously vindictive McAdams as the Queen Bee, the crew includes former "Party of Five" actress Lacey Chabert as the gossipy Gretchen and Amanda Seyfried as the clueless Karen, who's not above making out with her first cousin (because "there's cousins, and then there's first cousins and second cousins…").

Fey, with the help of director Mark Waters ("Freaky Friday," "The House of Yes"), has infused the film with her trademark comedic brilliance. The jokes and gags come at a break-neck pace, but the punch lines aren't the only hilarious aspects. Little touches such as Gretchen's dad being the inventor of Toaster Strudels and Regina's MTV obsessed little sister are details that will inspire laughter long after the movie is over. Even the particulars about the background characters should provide endless chuckles (just try to think about Trang Pak, the girl in wheelchair and her little person-sidekick, and the Middle-Eastern, hip-hop-obsessed mathlete/"Bad-Ass MC" after the movie without smiling).

If there's anything to complain about in this film, it's the overt sexualization of teenage girls. Of course, the actresses are older than they play, with the exception of Lohan (who, at 17 years old, brings an R. Kelly-like meaning to "The Parent Trap"). Parents might see the Disney-friendly actress in the trailers and bring their young children, but this movie is not for those under high school age (girls are called "sluts" and "whores" throughout). However, that doesn't mean anyone who's older than the class of 2004 shouldn't check "Mean Girls" out. Fey, Waters, and the entire cast have made sure the experience will be enjoyable for everyone.
Fun & worth seeing5/10

"Mean Girls" is a fun movie that can be enjoyed thoroughly by the adult set as well as its seeming target audience, teens. The flick opens up with Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) embarking on her first day of the jungle that is high school ever as she has been home-schooled in Africa her whole life. After some initial bumps in the road, she manages to befriend two "artsy" misfits, Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese). Surprisingly, however, she is also quickly welcomed into the Plastics, a group of uber-popular girls who seem to be simultaneously admired and resented by all. On Janis's urgings, Cady infiltrates the Plastics, and her mission becomes personal when the Plastics leader, Regina (Rachel McAdams), stabs Cady in the back.

"Mean Girls" is indeed an exaggerated version of reality, but its depiction of the brutality and ridiculousness of high school and the need to find and stay true to oneself within a social construct manage to ring true. It does not stray away from or gloss over the dark humor that high school inevitably draws out nor is it apologetic in its over-the-topness. The result is a hilarious, well-written/performed film that is unpredictable and worth seeing.

Lindsay Lohan shows us once again that not only is an actress with range and a deft comedienne, she is also extremely likable and charismatic. Other stand-out performances go to Caplan and Franzese as well as Tina Fey (who plays a teacher), Amanda Seyfried (as one of the Plastics, Karen), and McAdams. McAdams, probably best known as the title character in "The Hot Chick", is an actress who continues surprise me with her great comedic skills (don't believe me? Watch her deleted scenes from "The Hot Chick" DVD. I liked them better than the whole movie!!).

All in all, this flick is great fun and more well-done than might be initially expected!
Best Teen Movie since 'Clueless'?8/10

I have to admit that despite being a straight, 22 year old guy I have always had a weakness for teen films so I was looking forward to Lindsay Lohan's (who really impressed me in 'Freaky Friday' and the much underrated 'Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen') latest.

It exceeded my expectations.

Lindsay is on great form, instantly likable as Cady and believable both as a regular girl and a "regulation hottie". This girl is one of the best comic actresses of her generation and has created a fully rounded character it is difficult not to root for. Not that she carries the film alone.

Of the adults Tim Meadows does sterling work in translating his character with relatively few lines. Neil Flynn (familiar as the Janitor from 'Scrubs') is even better with some great facial expressions as a father as much at sea in suburban America as his daughter. As for Tina Fey... a terrific performance of course and she is still as cute as she was on Saturday Night Live but where she really shines is in the screenplay which sounds real enough (at least for a teen film) and has some razor sharp areas (like Coach Carr's 'lessons').

Of course the key group is the titular Mean Girls themselves - Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried). Rachel McAdams creates a memorable High School tyrant, malicous, power mad and cruel but not entirely virtue free. She'd screw you over in a heartbeat if you stepped on her turf, but the nonthreatening Gretchen is allowed some reward for loyalty. Gretchen herself, played by the delectable Lacey Chabert is a character of her own, not just a cardboard minion to follow orders. Neurotic, shallow, desperate, beautiful, loyal and rather uncertain she is perhaps the saddest and most sympathetic of the Plastics - a girl who certainly has the looks and money to make it to the top of the pyramid but who lacked the will or the certainty. Not a problem with Karen (Amanda Seyfried) who has an admirable certainty of herself and her abilities. In one of the films best lines after a telling off from Regina, Cady tries to comfort her:

Cady: You're not stupid, Karen.

To which Karen replies thoughtfully (without a hint of bitterness or anger):

Karen: No, I am, actually. I'm failing everything.

Indeed she is. Karen is an airhead, and if not actively proud of it, at least accepting. She doesn't seem cruel herself, possibly because she is simply too shallow and dense, but she doesn't seem a bad person. Which for the second minion (Gretchen outranks her) to the villainous is quite a remarkable achievement.

Finally I must mention Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese as Janice and Damian respectively, the outsiders we are rooting for, in theory. They do good work, though I found them slightly dry next to the endlessly dysfunctional Plastics (though that may be something to do with me finding Lacey Chabert much more attractive than Daniel Franzese!)

Overall a very good piece of work from all concerned. If you like teen movies then you'll find this a very good one. If you don't, well hold your nose and try it anyway, you might be pleasantly surprised!
The unthinkable: A good film in this day and age about high school.9/10
Though my own high school days are well behind me now, this film received enough acclaim that I was convinced to give it a try. Mean Girls did in fact prove to be a rewarding experience. The film made a ton of money and launched some of its young stars into orbit.

Our story deals with a previously home-schooled girl (Lohan) now having to brave a suburban high school for the first time. She is completely clueless as far as what it takes to be cool in this new world, but she is pretty enough to catch the attention of the most popular girls in the school. The "Plastics" as they are called take the young lady into their world and over time she becomes one of them. The more popular the young lady becomes, the more miserable her life becomes, however.

The film is very funny and it hits pretty hard with its depictions of the various cliques at modern high schools. Some would argue that the characters in this film are just stereotypes, but so are most real life high schoolers. Nearly everyone fit into one category or another even back in my school days, but things seem even more fragmented now.

Tina Fey has written an intelligent script, and thankfully the film was cast well enough to carry it. Lindsay Lohan is charming, but nothing too exceptional. Rachel McAdams pretty much steals this film, and she is likely the cast member who will have the best career of this bunch. I think it's safe to say her scream toward the end of act 2 is the best I've ever heard in any film.Lacey Chabert is also worth mentioning, and she seems worthy of some better roles in the future. Overall, there did not seem to be any casting problems.

Mark Watters keeps things moving along at a brisk pace, and it seems strange to see Lorne Michaels' name in the credits of any film this funny. From what I've heard, the film had to be trimmed of more than a few parts that would have given it in an R-rating. BOO!!!!!! Hard to argue with the box office totals, though! After watching this film, I was reminded of a similar group of popular girls at my high school. They called themselves the Senior Bitch Patrol, and behaved much the same way as the "Plastics." Only back then (88-91) it was mostly about the hair. The bigger the hair, the more popular the girl. All of these girls have gone on to live boring and pointless lives since those days. Go figure....

9 of 10 stars for Mean Girls. Too bad I never had any math teachers as pretty as Tina Fey!