Directed by Mark S. Waters
Running Time: 1:36
as Cady Heron
The best thing about Mean Girls was that it never went to a level of absurdity found in other movies of its kind, and therefore was much more enjoyable than I expected.
Cady (pronounced Katie) was raised in the wild in Africa and homeschooled by her parents. But when they move to the U.S., Cady is enrolled in her first real school. She is immediately befriended by a couple of loveable school losers, but is also looked upon highly by the school's elite. Her lower class friends, Damien and Janis tell her that she needs to join the elite, also known as the Plastics, and then dish the dirt to the rest of the school. At first Cady is more than happy to do all of this, but the more time she spends with the Plastics, the more she becomes like them. Predictably, this leads her into all sorts of trouble with her old friends and the rest of the school, but as you might imagine, this story has a happy ending.
OK, there was a little absurdity towards the end of the movie involving a bus, but otherwise, Mean Girls managed to stay above the fray and not go to out of bounds. No one was kidnapped or killed (accidentally or on purpose) like in Heathers or Jawbreaker. The mean things these girls did were the kinds of things that you might expect to have happen in a high school full of cliques. Writing down nasty things about everyone then releasing it for the world to read. Tricking friends into thinking someone else didn't like them. Trying to steal another girl's boyfriend. Tricking a girl into eating something she thinks is healthy for her. Nothing that was so over the top you started to think the whole movie was just a joke. It was all evil enough that you got a good idea who the characters were and where they were coming from, but not so evil that each person couldn't be ultimately redeemed.
Lindsay Lohan has the ability to straddle the line of hot girl and normal every day girl; the girl every guy wants to be with, and the girl everyone wants to be friends with. The movie never tried to really dumb her down by putting her in oversized glasses or clothing too large to fit an elephant (She's All That, and instead put her in a regular jeans and shirt combo for the early part of the movie, then put her into more revealing clothing as her character changed into a Plastic, before finding a happy medium towards the end. The lead Plastic, Regina, was more subtle with her ability to use and abuse people, never screaming at them to put them down, but instead using all sorts of mental tricks. Her two cohorts weren't portrayed as drooling followers, but had the ability to stand up to their leader when they needed to. Cady's two other friends were also allowed to break out of caricatures. Damien was certainly not the gay friend that you normally see in movies, and Janis's sexuality was one of the running topics of the film, but her goth-like outfits didn't turn her into a cast-off from The Craft.
The movie was written by current Saturday Night Live star, Tina Fey, and if you watch SNL enough, especially her Weekend Update segment, you can definitely imagine her writing the jokes throughout the film. There wasn't a lot that was complete laugh-out-loud funny, but most of the humor came from the dialogue. The Principal of the school, played by SNL alum Tim Meadows, was the one character you could really sense that subtle humor from. Almost all of his lines were really funny, but not because he used foul language or anything, just from the slightly off-kilter tone and words he would use to describe the situation. I wasn't a big fan of Meadows when he was on SNL, but this is the kind of role that he shines in. And Tina Fey, the sexiest woman to don a pair of glasses since... umm, Lisa Loeb? had that same kind of humor in her role. Not over the top funny, but flowing with the movie funny. I definitely like her sense of humor and I hope she writes a lot more comedies in the future.
The only real problem I had was how the film ended. While the rest of the movie lived in the real world, the ending lived only in the world of movie magic. The whole thing with the bus, followed by the whole 'We're all one big happy family' thing was a bit much. There will always be cliques in high school, no matter how much you try and stop them. So don't take a perfectly good movie and throw in a hopeful ending like that. Give it to me real!
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I definitely enjoyed Mean Girls. It was funny and well-written, the characters were well acted (and not to mention easy on the eyes). The ending was a bit hammy, but otherwise it was definitely fun to watch.
Live from New York:
An Uncensored History of
Saturday Night Live
The Parent Trap
© 2004 Wolfpack Productions