I must confess despite the fact Tina Fey penned the screenplay my desire to see the adaptation from book to the silver screen version in Mean Girls (2004) was minimal at best. Mean Girls was not even one of my rentals! My parents rented the film and while working on a project for school, I found myself distracted. Mean Girls was hilarious! Why did I ever doubt Miss Fey to begin with? If anyone could give us a great adaptation its her. Who knows why I did, but I can admit that this feature is one of my favorite high school related films. Mean Girls deserves a watch or five all the same.
The film is about Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan). She is new at school and manages to get in with the in-crowd. The Plastics. The Plastics consist of leader Regina George (Rachel McAdams), and her followers Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). Before gaining access to The Plastics Cady’s only friends are Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese). When they realize she is in with The Plastics they insist that she destroy the group from the inside. The problem is that Cady is beginning to enjoy her newfound popularity and begins to fall for Regina George’s ex Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett).
Mean Girls is also a rare film that truly manages to identify with all types of the female teenager. In many ways the film even explores those same young ladies when they grow up in Cady’s Mom (Ana Gasteyer), Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), and Mrs. George (Amy Poehler). Most of the characters are a bit more likable than in most teenage comedies though. After all, Cady’s parents barely even know how to ground their own child when the time comes. What is so great about the film is that it ultimately celebrates each seterotype of young woman within the film. Young ladies are reminded that it is okay to be themselves. An important message in our teen years.
This brings me to the men in the film. Cady’s Dad (Neil Flynn) is just as hilarious as he is in most roles I’ve seen him take on. He truly attempts to identify with Cady and make sure she is okay with everything going on in her life. Then we have Mr. Duvall (Tim Meadows). He depicts a much different principal than in all the other teenage rom-coms. He does not take much away from the student body even when the cliches of the genre says he should. Instead he attempts to ruly understand them. Plus, I have to admit he is one of my favorite SNL alum so it was nice to see him back on my television screen when viewing the film.
While the film does follow some cliches in high school, they ultimately follow the rules. Every high school, no matter what, has various cliques. Generally a person meets a group of people that they connect with and try to stick with those people. No one can truly blame them. After all, if a person gets along with certain people more than others that person will hang out with that particular group.
Mean Girls is not meant to change the high school hierarchy, but the film does acknowledge what many us went through in high school. Rumors would get spread for no reason, the friend we had through middle school was suddenly in a different crowd where you did not belong and communication breaks down. These things happen, but sometimes those people come back into your life when one needs them mos. This is a weird blessing and makes one forget about such things ever occurring in the first place.
Finally, Mean Girls proves that a big cast of names is not necessarily a bad thing. All characters are well acted, as stated above, and the film leaves hope for every character involved, unlike the predecessor Heathers (1988). Even if this takes Regina George getting hit by a bus, all the Plastics figure out that there can be peace among most members of high school by merely trying. Mean Girls also leaves one quoting various lines they never thought they would say in a thousand years and that is part of what makes the film so fetch.