Mean Girls (2004)

meangirls21Based on the novel which is not a narrative story yet a text book/survival guide, writer Tina Fey really pulls off a feat here. “Mean Girls” is a basic analyses of how women are like animals, which is accurate within the context of the events that unfold for Cady Heron. Directed by Mark Waters, “Mean Girls” centers on Cady Heron, a young girl who moved from Africa with her family and is now introduced in to the high school mainstream, another jungle with students whom act like wildlife, hunting in packs and basically attacking one another. Cady is exposed to the main clique in school, The Plastics. What “Mean Girls” has going for it above all of the other high school comedies is the talent behind it.

Tina Fey adapts from the book, translating it in to an utterly witty and clever film that is often times funny as hell. There were many times where I was surprisingly laughing out loud, but that’s due mainly to the SNL veterans that have roles throughout the film. Tim Meadows is a sheer highlight as the principal of the school, who has to deal with the pandemonium going on with the students, and his dead pan delivery of the sharp one-liners are utterly entertaining. Amy Poehler plays a mom struggling to stay young alongside her daughter with fake breasts that are described as “hard”, along with Tina Fey who (is not only gorgeous, but) has a small standout role as a math teacher who has a sense of inside with the teens. Along with the comedic performances there are Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese whom are hilarious as Cady’s friends, and “The Plastics” that aren’t really that bad of people, when the narrative begins exploring them in a different perspective.

There’s Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, and Lacey Chabert respectively as the trio of catty alpha females, all of which are pretty fascinating and interesting characters when forced in to their own consequences and forms of punishment. Chabert is the most interesting as Gretchen Weiners; she’s such a desperate clinging follower, you can almost picture her as an over bearing mom in the suburbs seeking a place in the upper echelons of the status quo. Chabert gives the best performance here. Then there’s Amanda Seyfried, playing the doe eyed ditzy blonde often dismissed as simple minded. Rachel McAdams is always good, and gives a very good performance as Regina George, the prima-donna alpha female of The Plastics who is pure phoniness in a beautiful package and really holds her own against the other cast, respectively.

The film never truly convinces us these villainesses are being anything but women, and that’s the ultimate moral in the end. Fey’s character gives a very interesting scene where she tests the girls to see who has actually talked about a girl and the results are not that surprising. Basically, they’re bitches and evil because they’re women being women? I didn’t buy it, and Fey’s script never bothered to make them an exception. Sadly, “Mean Girls” ultimately loses steam on the second half with a very cheesy climax was too safe and too creatively rigid. Fey wasn’t disappointing for most of the movie with a clever premise and great performances, but she completely drops the ball on the second half which ends up being very cheesy with the animal sequences, and the “where are they now?” montage involving the main characters.  

All of it was so long to sit through and never felt as if Fey was continuing her comedic streak as far as the movie went. It was a disappointing sad finale to what could have been a great piece of comedy. That said, “Mean Girls” ends up as not only a commentary on how women tend to be women when they want what they want, but it also shows how mindless people can be to the status quo through an utterly hilarious, smart and entertaining offering in to the teen comedy genre, that I ended up really liking. In spite of an awfully cheesy second half that loses steam, “Mean Girls” is a very intelligent, often funny, well written and clever satire on high school and its status quo, boasting an array of talent both comedic and dramatic.