by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Lindsay Lohan as CADY HERON
Rachel McAdams as REGINA GEORGE
Tina Fey as MS. NORBURY
Tim Meadows as MR. DUVALL
Amy Poehler as MRS. GEORGE
Ana Gasteyer as CADY’S MOM
Lacey Chabert as GRETCHEN WIENERS
Lizzy Caplan as JANIS IAN
Daniel Franzese as DAMIAN
Amanda Seyfried as KAREN SMITH
Directed by: Mark Waters
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Based on the best-selling book “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” “Mean Girls” is SNL powerhouse Tina Fey’s first crack at screenwriting. The story follows Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), a home-schooled teenager whose just moved from Africa to attend public school. She soon learns about the high school power structure and, at the behest of her new friend Janis (Lizzy Caplan), decides to infiltrate the elite girl power troupe known as “The Plastics.” Cady tries to topple the head of the clique, Regina George (Rachel McAdams), but soon finds she’s in danger of becoming a mean girl herself.
WHAT I LIKED
For some reason, I missed “Mean Girls” when it first came out in theaters. And it’s a shame that I did because it’s a really hip and cool film. We’ve seen a lot of the things in this film before, namely in the 80s classic teen flick “Heathers.” However, made almost 20 years later, “Mean Girls” gives us a more modern look at the high school power structure.
As the centerpiece of the film, Lindsay Lohan is still likeable, considering this was before her disastrous public relation crash into alcohol abuse, arrests, boudoir photography and a lesbian affair. The film boasts a solidly female cast, and its’ a well cast film at that. Lohan, who had worked with director Mark Waters before in “Freaky Friday,” manages to play both the bad girl and the heroine.
She’s tempered by The Plastics, played by Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried. All three mean girls play the bitch perfectly, from different angles. Writer Tina Fey takes a role for herself as Cady’s math teacher, and she comes off well. Ultimately, the cast is what makes this film work, from the top down.
Of course, high school isn’t as cut-and-dried as it is presented here, but for the hyper-reality of the movie world, it will make you remember both the good things and the bad things about your own teen social structure.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Even though I count “Heathers” as one of my favorite films of all time, I will be the first to point out that the social structure of high school isn’t always realistically shown. While there are cliques, and everyone can remember the Plastics from their own high school days, it’s been my experience that the popular kids just don’t care about anyone below them in the caste system. Only the unpopular kids are obsessed with what the popular kids think, so this makes the film a bit unrealistic.
Newly available on BluRay, this disc includes a commentary of the film by director Mark Waters, writer Tina Fey and producer Lorne Michaels. There are also several deleted scenes with commentary by Waters and Fey.
Three featurettes give an in-depth look at the production: “Only the Strong Survive,” “The Politics of Girl World” and “Plastic Fashion.” These give a nice snapshot of the production and provide a little more depth than a typical featurette. Rosalind Wiseman, author of the original book “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” takes some time to talk about her seminars to educate girls an self esteem in these featurettes. It’s a bit preachy, but considering she wrote the book and knows her audience, it’s definitely relevant to the movie.
Wrapping up the special features are three whimsical interstitials with the Mean Girls that offer insight into the politics of popularity in high school: Frenemies, New Girl and a PSA. There’s also the original theatrical trailer, presented in BluRay quality high definition.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
High school kids and anyone who remembers what a drag high school could be.