Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary from director Mark Waters,
producer Lorne Michaels and screenwriter Tina Fey; 3 featurettes;
Blooper reel; Deleted scenes; Trailer.
"I THINK that girls are ingenious in how they find ways
to sabotage one another in these invisible, unseen, hurtful ways,"
observes Tina Fey, head writer and co-star of teen flick, Mean
Yet, her insights make for a wonderfully acidic High School comedy,
which works out as a cross between Heathers and Thirteen
for the teen market.
Based on the book, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your
Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities
of Adolescence, by Rosalind Wiseman, Mean Girls is the type
of film which arrives like a breath of fresh air amid the current
crop of stale campus comedies, expertly tapping into the bitchy
hierarchies of adolescents.
Its a message movie, of course, but its fun lies in its
ability to attack its subject matter with such venom, making it
a far more absorbing, and, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny,
variation on a well-trodden theme.
The story revolves around Lindsay (Freaky Friday) Lohans
budding maths genius, Cady Heron, as she embarks upon her first
days at public high school and quickly falls prey to the psychological
warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face.
Initially rejected by everyone but a possibly lesbian art student,
Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan), and her overweight, gay, best friend,
Damian (Daniel Franzese), Cady suddenly finds herself being recruited
by a trio of beautiful, power-hungry girls, known as the Plastics,
who are ruled by Queen Bee, Regina (Rachel McAdams).
The trio in question rule by fear
and intimidation, so Cady seizes upon the opportunity to infiltrate
and carry out a little fun espionage of her own.
But when she falls for Reginas ex-boyfriend, Aaron (Jonathan
Bennett), she becomes the unwitting victim of Reginas back-stabbing
and resolves to get even, continuing to hang out with the group
until she can wreak her own form of revenge from within.
In doing so, however, Cady begins to become the one thing she
loathes, and loses sight of her own friends, forcing her to confront
her own moral values along the way.
And while the resulting picture may sound a little preachy, Mean
Girls is made all the more notable for the way in which it consistently
remains entertaining and funny, without becoming overly manipulative.
Fey, who is a Saturday Night Live performer, keeps her script
nicely acerbic and mostly intelligent, refusing to dumb things
down too much, and avoiding too many cheap gags.
She knows her target audience will be mostly the sort of people
who populate the movie, yet allows them to laugh at the absurdity
of their own rules and regulations, while also adding something
for the parents/grown-ups to enjoy.
And Mark Waters direction is such that the movie zips along
at a fairly brisk pace, so that there is always another gag waiting
in the wings, to replace the memory of those that dont work.
The principal performers acquit themselves well, with both Lohan
and McAdams making convincing enemies, while the support cast
is almost uniformly excellent - with Fey, herself, displaying
a nice line in deadpan humour as a maths teacher, Franzese super-camp
but hilarious, and Tim Meadows walking away with practically every
scene he occupies, as the straight-talking Principal Duvall.
It may cater for a niche market, but it hits its target audience
with all the accuracy of a bullseye and is, like, way better than
could possibly have been imagined when you first read the synopsis.