Mean Girls (USA; 97 min.)


directed by: Mark S. Waters
starring: Lindsay Lohan; Rachel McAdams; Lacey Chabert; Tina Fey

Mean Girls
 
Bruce says: "Yes, I did read Janet’s MEAN GIRLS review which I thoroughly enjoyed, swearing at the time that I would never see this film. While shopping for lighter fare (not always my area of expertise) MEAN GIRLS was recommended to me by the manager of a large video store. I foolishly did not remember that it was the subject film in Janet’s review.

"Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), now sixteen, has been home schooled in Africa for her entire school going life. Her parents have returned to the states and Cady has been thrust into a large Midwestern high school so that she can quickly become socialized. Since her only point of reference is supposedly that of African animals, Cady has a couple of frantic episodes where she envisions her schoolmates going through animal rituals, e.g. taking turns at the watering hole and doing a form of mating dance. Cady claims, 'I know how this would be settled in the animal world.' Although Janet did not care for these departures of fantasy I thought that the filmmaker might be onto something great – here was lovely Cady relating to her schoolmates as jungle beasts. What could have been a great opportunity is actually a missed opportunity. The idea was not well executed nor was it sustained. Instead of what might have been a series of contextual hallucinations worthy of REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, we are left with a very stupid film suitable for only the most vapid teenager.

"On her first day at school Cady is so intimidated she takes her lunch to a bathroom stall, afraid to join one of the cliquish tables. Shortly thereafter, Cady is befriended by a token lesbian named Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and a token gay boy named Damien (Daniel Franzese). Janis and Damien convince Cady that she should infiltrate the Plastics, the group of the most sought after girls in the school. And the meanest. You probably won’t be surprised that Cady gets sucked into being one of the material girls and one of the meanest, too. Regina is the ringleader of the Plastics and gets furious when Cady gets a crush on her ex-boyfriend. Notice the 'ex.' Regina wants to claim everything as hers whether she is interested or not.

"Janis, Damien and Cady plot the downfall of the Plastics, particularly Regina. Will Cady be able to follow through with the plan? Of course. Will Cady come to her senses? Not until she does lots of very mean things to the other Plastics. Since the film made a ton of money, I’m sure everyone involved now thinks MEAN GIRLS is a great artistic achievement. Lindsay Lohan who looked so promising in FREAKY FRIDAY hopefully will have better judgment in selecting her future career moves. Films like this one could be career ending for a serious actor.

"Good comedies are hard to find. Janet was right. This is certainly not one of them. 1 cat"

 

Janet says: "Saw Tina Fey's MEAN GIRLS at the Somerville Theatre last Saturday, as a
hasty substitute for the film we really wanted, BAADASSSSS!, which had left area theaters after one week. Was very much in the mood for this pic, as I had been thinking about some mean people in my own life, but after the first five minutes, it was a disappointment. If I'm going to be seen going to a lowbrow movie, I want a big payoff. The writing was shoddy and the humor uneven---reminded me of why I rarely watch SNL anymore (I, of course, remember the Laraine Newman and John Belushi days). Most characters and situations were promising but should have been better developed. One more draft, people?

"To list some specific disappointments: One character is supposed to be getting fatter and fatter, but you don't see it happening. How much does a prosthetic double chin cost? The main character's parents are supposed to be zoologists just back from Africa, but they really didn't seem like academics, much less satires of academics. (Oh, wait, yes---they were shown reading at one point.) The two or three scenes in which people are shown behaving like animals (the zoology connection!) were just embarrassing. And what was going on with the holier-than-thou business toward the end? Was the message that if you're going to insult and make fun of other people, it's only okay if it's done on national television and you're getting a salary for it?

"Don't see this one, even if your first-choice and second-choice movies have left town. And if anyone writes back 'Tell us how you really feel,' I'm going to really get annoyed, because I think that's the stupidest fad putdown since 'Get a life.' So I guess I'm this week's Chlotrudis Churmudgeon.

" I know it's not an indie film, but: no cats (and no lions or tigers either)"

 
Carolyn says: "Your usual new girl at school tries to get in with the cool kids, tries to tear their group apart, it backfires and everyone hates her. Then at the end you have the cheesy make-up of some sort and all live happily ever after. That was really about it, nothing new or interesting and not very good dialogue. 3 cats"