Mean Girls Reviews
Mean Girls follows Cady played by infamous train wreck Lindsay Lohan, (The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, The Canyons), before she went off the rails, (see what I did there?). Cady until now has been home schooled in Africa with her parents and now comes to high school to find it's not so different from Africa.
Mean Girls succeeds through, firstly, assured direction from Mark Waters, (Freaky Friday, The Spiderwick Chronicles) who has a real sense of when to mix in the more satirical naturistically played segments with the expressionistic, stylistic moments. Secondly, the great performances her elicits. The film benefits from a very likable and sympathetic lead in Lohan and a truly magnetic turn from villainesse and high school queen bee archetype Regina George, whose name has now become infamous, played with scenery-chewing glee by Rachel McAdams, (Sherlock Holmes, Spotlight, About Time), who was just nominated for an oscar for another fantastic turn in best picture winner Spotlight, she has really matured as an actress in a force to be reckoned with. There's also a myriad of wonderfully game supporting players from; Amanda Seyfried, (Mamma Mia!, Les MisÚrables) and Lacey Chabert as George's hapless minions; Tina Fey, (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Tim Meadows, (Saturday Night Live, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) as the equally hapless teachers; with Lizzy Caplan, (Cloverfield), Daniel Franzese, (I Spit on Your Grave), and Amy Poehler, (Inside Out) rounding off the fantastic ensemble, each one turning in memorable and career defining performances.
The real joy of Mean Girls though is in Tina Fey's biting screenplay. The humour isn't nearly as safe as something like Clueless and many of the jokes causes one to go 'hang on did someone actually just say that in a studio teen flick?' one of the most memorable being 'I can't help it if I have a heavy flow and a wide set vagina'. The fact is that this film isn't afraid to address the way it's protagonists would speak in real life, the things they'd talk about and the jokes they make. You could write off a lot of the jokes as crass and vacuous if they weren't just so on point. It's a joke a minute and some of the jokes are actually as sharp and scabrous as something from John Micheal or Martin McDonagh, (In Bruges , Calvary, War on Everyone). The jokes will make you cringe as much as some of their jokes but the reason here is more that it will remind you of your own time at high school, your own mistakes and awkward moments and times you let down your friends. The film has an emotional truth as well as a comedic sense.
There's an attempt in the last act to humanise the roughest edged characters to a degree and there's one scene that sticks out in everyone's mind as being extraordinarily cheesy but you just read that as a tongue in cheek poking at how teen flicks end with a big cheesy set peice, (I really need to stop forgiving films by saying it's satirical, post-modernism means never having to say you're sorry), or it might just be a fop to the studios. However, for the most part, Mean Girls is a biting, edgy, lough out loud hilarious teen comedy that stands out from the crowd by not holding back and having an ensemble game cast, along with a director who understands how to construct a joke really well and will go completely over the top if that's what it takes to get a laugh. In short, Mean Girls is a joy.
I still encounter people now and then that haven't seen it, but assume it's stupid just because of the name, description and what they assume it must be. A coworker started talking about how stupid it was a few weeks ago and making very judgemental comments and then revealed she had never actually seen it. If that's still you, put your pride, preconceived notions and "principles" aside and just watch it. You may end up liking it, but at the very least, it probably won't be what you were expecting.
Even more people I know still quote this movie at random. "Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?"