Movie Review: Mean Girls (2004)

Title: Mean Girls
Release Date: April 30, 2004
Director: Mark Waters
Production Company: Broadway Video

Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George?

Every high school has a clique of popular, conventionally-attractive, and typically wealthy girls who use their advantages to bully and manipulate the other girls at the school.  This teen comedy, oddly, adapts a sociological non-fiction work called Queen Bees and Wannabes and carries that more serious message under the more comical narrative.  While it feels like every beat in Mean Girls has been memefied over the years, the film still holds up well after almost two decades.

Naive 16-year-old Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) enters school for the first time after growing up homeschooled by her zoologist parents researching on location in Africa. Cady is unexpectedly given the opportunity to join the ruling clique, The Plastics, made up of queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams),  gossipy Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and ditsy Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). Cady’s new friends Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) convince her to infiltrate The Plastics in hopes of finding ways to embarrass them.  Hijinks ensue as Cady finds herself alternately repulsed and fascinated by Regina.

The movie was a vehicle for Lohan, whose troubled personal life has overshadowed her film career, but McAdams and Seyfried have gone on to very successful careers.  The talented younger cast is supported by a lot of Saturday Night Live veterans as the adults, especially Tina Fey who wrote the screenplay as well as co-starring as the math teacher, Ms. Norbury.  That script, of course, is full of quotable dialogue and remains hilarious on repeat viewings.

Rating: ****