I love girls. Really, I love them, which is a good thing because this movie is all about them, what makes them so lovable but also all those little things they do that threaten to turn that love into pure hatred. I don’t want to sound sexist, guys are assholes too, but at least with a dude you know where you stand. If a guy’s got a beef with you, he’ll tell you loud and clear and maybe punctuate it with a punch in the gut. Girls, though, are harder to understand. Many times I’ve been with ladies that behaved like the best of friends, all smiles and hugs, but as soon as you’re alone with one of them she’ll go on and on about what a fat slut her “friend” really is. Why keep hanging out with someone you can’t even stand?
“Mean Girls” is all about this kind of mind games, hypocrisy and backstabbing. It’s set in that unholy place of bitching and bullying, high school, and it centers on the beautiful horrible clique at the top of the popularity food chain, the “Plastics”. Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried) are all about looking good and making everyone who does not feel miserable. Regina is the Queen Bee: every girl in school wants to be her and every guy wants to be in her. She knows it, they know it, and everyone secretly hates her for it.
Enters Cady (Lindsay Lohan), spending her first day in school at sixteen after being home-schooled in Africa her whole childhood. She knows nothing of cliques and coolness, yet somehow the Plastics take an interest in her. Cady’s only been here a day but she’s already heard all about the attractive but evil nature of Regina and her “army of skanks”, and she feels more comfortable with “almost too gay to function” Damian (Daniel Franzese) and Lebanese Goth chick Janis (Lizzy Caplan) anyway. Then again, her new friends figure that this is a priceless opportunity to infiltrate the Plastics and sabotage them from the inside. Yet as Cady puts more and more effort in pretending to be a shallow little bitch trying to make the scene, she starts to actually become one.
This is a surprisingly witty and edgy teen comedy, one not unworthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Clueless or Election. This is not so surprising after all when you know that it was written by Tina Fey, whose “Weekend Update” is consistently the best part of Saturday Night Live. Fey’s screenplay, based on Rosalind Wiseman’s nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes, really gets to the bottom of mean girl behaviours and rituals. In a way, the movie is like a nature documentary, exploring the bitch-eat-bitch rules of the high school jungle.
“Mean Girls” is non-stop eye candy – candy with big boobs, fabulous hair and short skirts. Yet as sexy as Lohan, McAdams, Chabert, Seyfried and Caplan can be, they’re funny, too. Director Mark S. Waters makes the most of their good looks, but his first priority is always getting laughs and his movie is full of them. In that regard, one must also give props to the grown-ups who support the young ones like Tina Fey herself and fellow SNL veterans Amy Poehler and Tim Meadows. I also have to mention Rajiv Surendra’s “math enthusiast / badass MC” – the little brown dude rocks!
The film could have dialed down on the pratfalls and it loses a little steam in the third act when laughs take a backseat to good sentiment, but “Mean Girls” remains a smart and funny flick full of pretty young things. Good times.