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Awesome: 37.1%
Worth A Look45.7%
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Sucks: 6.45%

11 reviews, 120 user ratings

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Mean Girls
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by Robert Flaxman

"A decent film until it lets itself down."
3 stars

Movies spawned by Saturday Night Live tend to be pretty hit and miss: for every Blues Brothers or Wayne's World there's at least one It's Pat or The Ladies Man. Lorne Michaels serves as producer again on Mean Girls, SNL head writer Tina Fey's first film writing credit. Unquestionably, the effort falls on the funnier end of the spectrum, but the film itself is remarkably inconsistent, which in the end makes it more of a trifle.

Based on, interestingly, a non-fiction book about high school cliques, Mean Girls tracks Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), who has been home-schooled for her whole life because of her globe-trotting parents. When they move into the Chicago suburbs because of her mother's new university job, Cady must adapt to life in - gasp! - public high school.

Mean Girls is the sort of film that intersperses comedy with bits of self-important pontification. Cady gets a voice-over track, during which she tends to explain how things would play out in "the animal world," which is then accompanied by shots of students getting down on all fours and screeching.

It's vaguely amusing, but the notion is that, while Cady is very intelligent, she really has no idea what it's like dealing with kids her age on a day-to-day basis and has to resort to hiding within things she knows. She grows out of this quickly enough when she meets the "Plastics," a three-girl clique that, inexplicably, provides the coolness standard for the entire school. Really? Three? I haven't been in high school in a few years, but I don't think a school would be so in awe of three girls, especially when they only seem to be friends with each other.

Perhaps that's why the leader, Regina (Rachel McAdams), seems so insistent on bringing Cady into their ranks - she finally had someone else she thought she could be friends with. Maybe it was because she found someone who didn't know her history. Either way, we can only speculate, because it's certainly never explained why Regina insists on latching on.

It probably is because everyone else hates her, which again raises the question of why she should be such a gold standard whom most students seem to feel the need to suck up to. The film posits that high school girls are nice to each other's faces and conduct insidious wars behind each other's backs. Of course, if you've ever had a high school girl in your family, you already know this.

Cady proceeds to become so Plastic that she eventually topples Regina and takes over the group, at which point Regina decides to get revenge and eventually the whole school is embroiled in what had been this private little war (over - shock! - a guy). Cady has lost track of who she's really supposed to be, intentionally failing classes to complete the image. This is - wait for it - bad, as the quirky friend characters (goth girl Janis and gay guy Damian) point out for us.

Something worth noting - which the film touches on but doesn't really explore, to its detriment - is that while we have the non-Plastic friends to note what goes so wrong with Cady, those friends aren't that much better, in the end. Cady's initiation into the Plastics is due mostly to the prodding of Janis, who wants to use Cady to subvert the group from the inside to settle a score dating to eighth grade. Janis is later presented as the voice of reason, however, which seems particularly hypocritical as by the end she is really shown as not having changed or learned much of anything. It's okay, of course - because she's not attractive, and the Plastics are. It's what I call Shallow Hal syndrome: in that film, the concept was that Jack Black could only see inner beauty, but the film hyperbolized it, making only people who were physically unattractive in reality look attractive to Hal, because only they were nice people. Janis and Damian, despite being no better than anyone else, get to be the voices of reason because they're not popular; they just serve as unattractive joke dispensers.

Nearly all of Fey's previous writing came on SNL, and it's pretty obvious. Many pieces set in the high school feel like little self-contained skits that one wouldn't be surprised to see turn up on the small screen, complete with live studio audience. This is particularly true of the appearances of Tim Meadows as the principal, Mr. Duvall, and Fey herself as beleaguered math teacher Ms. Norbury. Their scenes are among the funniest - Fey actually delivers a rather impressive performance considering the film and the role - but they also betray the mentality of a skit writer. Remove the lukewarm comment on high school life, and the film could probably have just appeared as a series of skits on SNL.

The film's final problem is the end, which basically neuters the film's entire premise by having Cady resolve everything with a speech at the spring dance. Then suddenly everyone in the school gets along, as if magically washed by the goodness of Cady's revelation that being a selfish backstabber maybe wasn't winning her any popularity contests (though she is named queen of the dance anyway). The film's point is that girls are mean and that isn't so good. The expectation that human nature is so easily changed, however, feels like a cheap way out. While it wasn't always on the mark, Fey's writing had made the film edgier; it stood apart from the general Hollywood teen-marketing pap. The ending is safe as safe can be, and has the cutesy little can't-we-all-just-get-along message to go with it. It feels out of place, as though Fey simply couldn't come up with a better way to end things. (In fact, the point at which Regina gets hit by a bus while arguing with Cady feels like a symbol for what the film is about to do to itself.)

This seems fairly harsh, no doubt, but the film is certainly not all bad. It's fairly funny for most of the running time, thanks largely to Fey and Meadows' characters as well as to Janis and Damian, who have a lot of good repartee. Lohan is well-cast in her role, as she effortlessly shifts from bright-eyed naif to evil scheme-stress and is perfectly believable in both. It helps that she's the right age; the Plastics (McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried) are a bit old and they look it, but then most film high schools are stocked with people who have long since graduated, so this is a small quibble.

In the end, Mean Girls delivers a pretty good number of laughs. It tries a bit too hard at nailing home a message that it can't quite pull off, but this doesn't kill the film entirely, just weakens it. Despite its loftier goals, Mean Girls works best as a disposable bit of slightly edgy comedy.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9283&reviewer=385
originally posted: 10/10/04 05:47:45
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User Comments

10/06/11 Kevin Breece one of my favorite comedies! you can watch it many times and still laugh! 5 stars
8/22/11 Annie G Better than most films of high school. The whole (teen, adult) family enjoyed. 3 stars
7/20/11 BuyTickets So gooood 5 stars
5/25/10 art one big SNL SKIT stretched out to a MOTION PITCURE! 1 stars
5/12/10 Natalie Meyerson WHY does cast list above omit showstealers Amanda Seyfried and Daniel Franzese?? 5 stars
5/11/10 Lenny Zane GREAT, and what a marvel, coming on eve of LL showing world what a miserable slouch she is! 5 stars
9/29/09 art THIS MOVIE SUCK"S! 1 stars
8/02/09 Rachel Definitely a must see for teen girls. 4 stars
5/23/09 art WHO CARES?,THIS IS NONSENSE! 1 stars
4/10/09 Dane Youssef A REAL look at the timeless enviorment of teenage girls, bitchiness and high school itself 5 stars
1/08/09 Anonymous. i thought it was funny :] not the average dumbed down teen comedy.. 4 stars
10/06/08 Jenny Tullwartz Sorta true, Iris. DID turn out to be last significant thing Flimsy Lohan is likely to do! 5 stars
10/04/08 Iris Verna Best film of millenium so far; downside: ends most cast member's careers (nowhere up to go) 5 stars
8/31/08 Samantha Pruitt really funny and smart! very quotable, with great characters 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner Boring not worth it! 1 stars
8/26/08 louise really good and dum 2 stars
4/01/08 superfriek great film Linsy Lohan is so pretty in this movie, I jest love her, and I love the world to 1 stars
10/15/07 Beau a well made hilarious film, great character creations and lindsay's at her best here!! 5 stars
10/01/07 Rachel MacAdamia Nuts Love the sequel in which Regina gets diarrhea and kills Karen for telling people about it. 5 stars
9/22/07 Hard Rock Jane Austen Yep,Hello Stronger, and so it'll remain unless she can extract her head from her poop chute 5 stars
8/13/07 Aaron Smith Janis is the redeeming character here. 4 stars
7/28/07 Hello Stranger lindsay lohan's best acting role. 4 stars
2/04/07 mean girls rocks omg this is one of my favourite movies of all time, you can watch it douzens of times!! xx 5 stars
1/27/07 Lauren Olin Deserved Oscar nominations much more than LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE or DEVIL WEARS PRAVDA! 5 stars
12/14/06 cherry ok but not the best 3 stars
12/10/06 Stacy Very funny and sometimes realistic portrayal of high school. Love it. 5 stars
11/26/06 sirina total crap the worst movie ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 4 stars
8/11/06 Jennifer my favorite movie of all time! i watch it almost every other day! 5 stars
6/08/06 Dan Good movie actually... 5 stars
6/03/06 The Velcro Warlock Insightful & captivating but doesn't need fans like Sallie. 4 stars
4/16/06 Sallie To anyone who ever said "mean girls" sucks, go fuck yourself. 5 stars
3/22/06 tabiya karim hmmmmmmmmmmm i hate lohan she sucks goddddd 1 stars
3/09/06 Jenna Hilarious and true at the same time! 5 stars
2/14/06 Harriet Beak very funny real life teen movie 4 stars
1/02/06 cody a cool movie with sexy woman like lindsey lohan, but it had only few laughs here and there 3 stars
10/14/05 tony HILARIOUS! 5 stars
10/08/05 rob Really good; developed characters, hilarious, realism, dark (but not dark enough) 5 stars
10/04/05 shawney hartland you should show mean girls more offen on tv 5 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes if only more teen movies were like this... 4 stars
9/06/05 aiyana i love the movie so much. I've seen it like a hundred times. No kidding! 5 stars
8/31/05 Coral Good Voice it was OK 4 stars
8/15/05 alexandria it was so unbelievablly incredible like rikki 5 stars
8/11/05 nads shows tina fey in a bra. 3 stars
7/30/05 kit mean girls was so realistic to highschool. I loved it. 5 stars
7/19/05 619 love this film os should i say "thats sooooo fetch" 5 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma I did not expect this to be so hilarious 5 stars
6/27/05 dan good film and i wanna bang lohan 5 stars
6/13/05 i am god sss 1 stars
5/09/05 Mike S. zeitgeist- I weep for you. 5 stars
5/08/05 zeitgeist I weep for the future. 1 stars
3/30/05 paris hart the best chick flick ive ever seen gd acting perfect teen comedy 5 stars
3/14/05 y2mckay Clever and funny script, the WU girls, hot chicks, and big boobs - What's not to like? 4 stars
2/25/05 dbx really overrated, ok if you can get past the hype 3 stars
2/22/05 sarah mean girls is one of my absolute favourite films of my life it is funny 5 stars
1/07/05 Buford Lindsay Lohan has big titties! 5 stars
12/29/04 Debra Sherman too jvenile but what was I expecting 2 stars
12/25/04 DM Witty and very clever. Tim Meadows is funny, too. 4 stars
12/06/04 Larry It shows Tina Fey in a bra. Good masturbation material. 3 stars
12/03/04 Britany Rose It was a good movie 4 stars
11/17/04 megan mean girls was a fun filled flick that made my family laugh so its worth a good look 4 stars
11/09/04 Diana where can i get the A little bit more dramatic top?email me at strawberilious@hotmail.com 5 stars
11/08/04 Kittie funny, sassy, more original that most teen films suprisingly entertained 4 stars
11/03/04 Koren Laholt A very good movie for kids over 12 4 stars
10/23/04 Natasha Theobald bitterly funny look at the suffering of high school 4 stars
10/17/04 gray beats the crap out of most teen girl movies 4 stars
10/16/04 Rapunzel Gladstone I think Lindsay Lowhanded, not Lindsay Lohan, wrote previous comment! 5 stars
8/27/04 Millie Maelstrom Q. Why does Karen NEED to put her fist in her mouth? A. To keep her foot out. 4 stars
8/26/04 Heather Purplethorne Shucks, Cady. I DID want to see Karen put her whole fist in her mouth! 4 stars
8/23/04 Robyn Jamil-Walid Tina Fey entertains us with her screenplay despite thinking her shit don't stink. 4 stars
8/23/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen Happy ending for all part a bit unrealistic. Lindsay yet to rival Freaky Friday excellence. 4 stars
8/07/04 Stephanie Throckmorton Actually,Eric C,Lindsay was at top of her radiance inCOATDQ;just couldn't save stupid movie 4 stars
8/06/04 Delight does anyone no were to get the top from that the blonde1 wore sayin"a little bit dramatic"? 5 stars
7/27/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne EricDSnider liked this! He must have hickupped during the fart scene! 4 stars
7/25/04 Elena A complete surprise. Insightful, hilarious and the most realistic teen movie since Thirteen 5 stars
7/23/04 yasmin its was really good good job 5 stars
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz funny 4 stars
7/17/04 legend One of the best teen comedy flicks out this year. 4 stars
7/15/04 Bruno I liked it! I luved their outfits, plus the soundtrack is really good! 5 stars
7/15/04 TheOthersFan For a film not rated "R," it deals with teen sexuality with surprising frankness 4 stars
7/10/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen Happy ending for all part a bit unrealistic. Lindsay yet to rival Freaky Friday excellence. 4 stars
7/09/04 marloes scholten the best teenage movie ever 5 stars
6/18/04 John Aster Habig true to the smallest detail based teen film since Orange County 5 stars
6/18/04 M should of been a bit more 'edgier' its too sugar coated! 3 stars
6/09/04 Savanna AWSOME!! FUINNI~! 5 stars
6/04/04 DdMM A fun, easy ride... 4 stars
5/30/04 Zierra Langham It didnt turn out the way i thought it was 4 stars
5/29/04 Alina hilarious movie 5 stars
5/27/04 Graham Though Heathers is actually better than Chekov.. 4 stars
5/26/04 Marlon makes HEATHERS look like Chekhov 2 stars
5/26/04 Ria This movie was the greatest comedy, look both ways before you cross. 5 stars
5/26/04 None Great Movie 5 stars
5/24/04 ajay surprisingly funny. The Indian dude was a crackup and you can't go wrong with Orbital!!!! 4 stars
5/23/04 Phantom Great! I saw it again just to see "Jingle Bell Rock!" 5 stars
5/22/04 Ray Zuper!!! 4 stars
5/21/04 Shark Awesome! Teen guys will fall in love with Lindsay Lohan! 5 stars
5/20/04 Blakers a great film 5 stars
5/19/04 batgirl i could watch this movie a dozen times and still laugh 5 stars
5/15/04 Chase Go see it! 5 stars
5/15/04 Marie it was just like my school def 2 stars
5/15/04 Koitus Cute film! I "personally related to" the party / puke scene, from H/S! L. Lohan is H-O-T! 4 stars
5/15/04 Blakers a great film 5 stars
5/15/04 Jay iT wAs ToTaLLy AwEsOmE n So FeTcH 5 stars
5/14/04 Jeff S Better than it had any right being, though the ending was weak. 3 stars
5/12/04 Me I am so sick of these stupid fucking teenage girl movies 1 stars
5/11/04 movieguy a great film 5 stars
5/10/04 Chiend What? No tits?!! I want my fucking money back! 1 stars
5/06/04 he a great film 5 stars
5/06/04 kevin hilarously funny! 5 stars
5/06/04 Laura I have not seen this film! 4 stars
5/05/04 Kayla I thought this movie was awesome, but then again I am a HUGE Lindsay Lohan fan!! 5 stars
5/04/04 britt actually really funny, over exageratted but true 4 stars
5/03/04 earl hofert just did not come together as i should have; horrible ending 2 stars
5/02/04 Me a great film 5 stars
5/02/04 cpbjr Funny at times, hot little girls all the time 3 stars
4/30/04 KingNeutron 3.5 *'s. Lindsay is hot as always, Rachel M looks like a young 7of9. Not bad for Tina Fey. 4 stars
4/30/04 Me A GREAT FILM I LOVED IT. 5 stars
4/30/04 susan lee tina fey rocks! 4 stars
4/27/04 Mike V Great! A really smart, funny, sweet, sarcastic take on female high school angst 5 stars
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  30-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Sep-2004


  24-Jun-2004 (M)

Directed by
  Mark S. Waters

Written by
  Tina Fey

  Lindsay Lohan
  Tina Fey
  Lizzy Caplan
  Lacey Chabert
  Rachel McAdams
  Tim Meadows

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