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Overall Rating
4.04

Awesome: 37.1%
Worth A Look45.7%
Average: 8.06%
Pretty Bad: 2.69%
Total Crap: 6.45%

11 reviews, 120 user ratings


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Mean Girls
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Looking forward to more Tina Fey screenplays."
4 stars

Teenage girls can be red in tooth and claw, in case you hadn't gotten the pop-culture memo.

Films like Catherine Hardwicke's Thirteen and books like Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees & Wannabes have thrown a harsh light on teen girls' yearning for acceptance and struggles with self-esteem; Tina Fey, head writer on Saturday Night Live, read Wiseman's book, and Fey's resulting screenplay was so inspired by Queen Bees that Wiseman gets a screen credit. Mean Girls, which opened with surprisingly big numbers, may tap into the same zeitgeist that seeks to decode the unhappy daughters of a new generation. It's also considerably witty, with freshly conceived characters and a baroquely structured plot.

Lindsay Lohan, whose popularity may be part of the reason for Mean Girls' success, is Cady Heron, a homeschooled girl attending a public school for the first time. Cady doesn't know the social rules of high school, though her new friends, outcast "art freaks" Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese), waste no time filling her in. Tina Fey, who is Class of 1988 like me, must've been as relieved -- and as dispirited -- as I was to learn that high-school cliques haven't changed much in fifteen years. The Queen Bee clique, derisively known as The Plastics, are a trio of well-appointed brats -- airhead Karen (Amanda Seyfried), eager-to-please Gretchen (Lacey Chabert), and ringleader Regina (Rachel McAdams). They take notice of Cady, and Regina invites her into the fold, with Janis' enthusiastic approval -- Cady is in the perfect covert-op position to report back to Janis on the Plastics' vapidity.

Mean Girls is not just for teenage girls. For one thing, Fey and producer Lorne Michaels have brought along some fellow SNL talent -- Tim Meadows as the grouchy school principal, Ana Gasteyer as Cady's anthropologist mom (her line "Why are my tribal vases under the sink?" is one of Fey's finer moments as a writer), and the incomparable Amy Poehler as Regina's mom, a teenage daughter's worst nightmare -- the mom who wants to be one of the girls. This is perhaps the smartest film Michaels has had his name on; Cady is a math whiz, and the movie doesn't shy away from showing actual examples of her knowledge. Fey wants girls to know it's okay to be smart, and the subplot in which Cady dumbs herself down to win the affection of a hunky senior (Jonathan Bennett) is a good instance of Fey's unstressed message.

Elsewhere, particularly towards the finish, the script gets a little preachier. Fey herself, in the role of Cady's calculus teacher, stands in front of an auditorium full of girls and makes a speech: "You've got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it all right for guys to call you that." An inarguable sentiment, but it veers too close to a PSA for me, as does Cady's later revelation, "Calling somebody else fat will not make you any thinner. Calling somebody stupid will not make you any smarter." These points have already pretty much been made; the Plastics are supercilious and unappealing (though the actresses play them wittily), and Cady herself devolves under their tutelage. As Nietzsche said (or maybe not), "Battle not with Plastics, lest ye become one."

Except for head Plastic Regina, and an oafish Health Ed teacher who somehow feels qualified to lecture about chlamydia while misspelling it, all the characters are generously drawn; there's a lovely moment when Janis, of uncertain sexual preference, and Damien, whom Janis has described as "almost too gay to function," go to the prom together in matching suits. Mean Girls manages to be light-hearted without being light-headed; as noted above, it has a little too much on its agenda, but that's better than having nothing on its mind at all. And it announces the arrival of Tina Fey into the ranks of smart screenwriters (she's a pretty good comic actress, too -- she has a wonderfully tart exchange with Lindsay Lohan over the contents of a secret "Burn Book" that trashes everyone in school).

The movie's success should pave the way for future Fey projects, and in this dumb, retrograde time for movies, Fey is more than welcome -- she's needed.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9283&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/11/07 11:46:14
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User Comments

10/07/11 Kevin Breece one of my favorite comedies! you can watch it many times and still laugh! 5 stars
8/23/11 Annie G Better than most films of high school. The whole (teen, adult) family enjoyed. 3 stars
7/21/11 BuyTickets So gooood 5 stars
5/25/10 art one big SNL SKIT stretched out to a MOTION PITCURE! 1 stars
5/12/10 Natalie Meyerson WHY does cast list above omit showstealers Amanda Seyfried and Daniel Franzese?? 5 stars
5/12/10 Lenny Zane GREAT, and what a marvel, coming on eve of LL showing world what a miserable slouch she is! 5 stars
9/30/09 art THIS MOVIE SUCK"S! 1 stars
8/03/09 Rachel Definitely a must see for teen girls. 4 stars
5/24/09 art WHO CARES?,THIS IS NONSENSE! 1 stars
4/11/09 Dane Youssef A REAL look at the timeless enviorment of teenage girls, bitchiness and high school itself 5 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. i thought it was funny :] not the average dumbed down teen comedy.. 4 stars
10/06/08 Jenny Tullwartz Sorta true, Iris. DID turn out to be last significant thing Flimsy Lohan is likely to do! 5 stars
10/04/08 Iris Verna Best film of millenium so far; downside: ends most cast member's careers (nowhere up to go) 5 stars
9/01/08 Samantha Pruitt really funny and smart! very quotable, with great characters 5 stars
8/31/08 Shaun Wallner Boring not worth it! 1 stars
8/27/08 louise really good and dum 2 stars
5/20/08 PAUL SHORTT A STANDARD VERSION OF LOW COMIC JOKES 1 stars
4/02/08 superfriek great film Linsy Lohan is so pretty in this movie, I jest love her, and I love the world to 1 stars
10/16/07 Beau a well made hilarious film, great character creations and lindsay's at her best here!! 5 stars
10/02/07 Rachel MacAdamia Nuts Love the sequel in which Regina gets diarrhea and kills Karen for telling people about it. 5 stars
9/23/07 Hard Rock Jane Austen Yep,Hello Stronger, and so it'll remain unless she can extract her head from her poop chute 5 stars
8/14/07 Aaron Smith Janis is the redeeming character here. 4 stars
7/29/07 Hello Stranger lindsay lohan's best acting role. 4 stars
2/04/07 mean girls rocks omg this is one of my favourite movies of all time, you can watch it douzens of times!! xx 5 stars
1/28/07 Lauren Olin Deserved Oscar nominations much more than LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE or DEVIL WEARS PRAVDA! 5 stars
12/15/06 cherry ok but not the best 3 stars
12/11/06 Stacy Very funny and sometimes realistic portrayal of high school. Love it. 5 stars
11/27/06 sirina total crap the worst movie ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 4 stars
8/11/06 Jennifer my favorite movie of all time! i watch it almost every other day! 5 stars
6/09/06 Dan Good movie actually... 5 stars
6/04/06 The Velcro Warlock Insightful & captivating but doesn't need fans like Sallie. 4 stars
4/16/06 Sallie To anyone who ever said "mean girls" sucks, go fuck yourself. 5 stars
3/23/06 tabiya karim hmmmmmmmmmmm i hate lohan she sucks goddddd 1 stars
3/09/06 Jenna Hilarious and true at the same time! 5 stars
2/14/06 Harriet Beak very funny real life teen movie 4 stars
1/03/06 cody a cool movie with sexy woman like lindsey lohan, but it had only few laughs here and there 3 stars
10/15/05 tony HILARIOUS! 5 stars
10/09/05 rob Really good; developed characters, hilarious, realism, dark (but not dark enough) 5 stars
10/04/05 shawney hartland you should show mean girls more offen on tv 5 stars
9/20/05 Jonathon Holmes if only more teen movies were like this... 4 stars
9/06/05 aiyana i love the movie so much. I've seen it like a hundred times. No kidding! 5 stars
9/01/05 Coral Good Voice it was OK 4 stars
8/16/05 alexandria it was so unbelievablly incredible like rikki 5 stars
8/12/05 nads shows tina fey in a bra. 3 stars
7/31/05 kit mean girls was so realistic to highschool. I loved it. 5 stars
7/19/05 619 love this film os should i say "thats sooooo fetch" 5 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma I did not expect this to be so hilarious 5 stars
6/27/05 dan good film and i wanna bang lohan 5 stars
6/14/05 i am god sss 1 stars
5/10/05 Mike S. zeitgeist- I weep for you. 5 stars
5/09/05 zeitgeist I weep for the future. 1 stars
3/31/05 paris hart the best chick flick ive ever seen gd acting perfect teen comedy 5 stars
3/15/05 y2mckay Clever and funny script, the WU girls, hot chicks, and big boobs - What's not to like? 4 stars
2/25/05 dbx really overrated, ok if you can get past the hype 3 stars
2/23/05 sarah mean girls is one of my absolute favourite films of my life it is funny 5 stars
1/07/05 Buford Lindsay Lohan has big titties! 5 stars
12/30/04 Debra Sherman too jvenile but what was I expecting 2 stars
12/26/04 DM Witty and very clever. Tim Meadows is funny, too. 4 stars
12/06/04 Larry It shows Tina Fey in a bra. Good masturbation material. 3 stars
12/04/04 Britany Rose It was a good movie 4 stars
11/18/04 megan mean girls was a fun filled flick that made my family laugh so its worth a good look 4 stars
11/09/04 Diana where can i get the A little bit more dramatic top?email me at strawberilious@hotmail.com 5 stars
11/08/04 Kittie funny, sassy, more original that most teen films suprisingly entertained 4 stars
11/04/04 Koren Laholt A very good movie for kids over 12 4 stars
10/24/04 Natasha Theobald bitterly funny look at the suffering of high school 4 stars
10/18/04 gray beats the crap out of most teen girl movies 4 stars
10/16/04 Rapunzel Gladstone I think Lindsay Lowhanded, not Lindsay Lohan, wrote previous comment! 5 stars
8/28/04 Millie Maelstrom Q. Why does Karen NEED to put her fist in her mouth? A. To keep her foot out. 4 stars
8/26/04 Heather Purplethorne Shucks, Cady. I DID want to see Karen put her whole fist in her mouth! 4 stars
8/24/04 Robyn Jamil-Walid Tina Fey entertains us with her screenplay despite thinking her shit don't stink. 4 stars
8/23/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen Happy ending for all part a bit unrealistic. Lindsay yet to rival Freaky Friday excellence. 4 stars
8/07/04 Stephanie Throckmorton Actually,Eric C,Lindsay was at top of her radiance inCOATDQ;just couldn't save stupid movie 4 stars
8/07/04 Delight does anyone no were to get the top from that the blonde1 wore sayin"a little bit dramatic"? 5 stars
7/28/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne EricDSnider liked this! He must have hickupped during the fart scene! 4 stars
7/26/04 Elena A complete surprise. Insightful, hilarious and the most realistic teen movie since Thirteen 5 stars
7/24/04 yasmin its was really good good job 5 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz funny 4 stars
7/17/04 legend One of the best teen comedy flicks out this year. 4 stars
7/16/04 Bruno I liked it! I luved their outfits, plus the soundtrack is really good! 5 stars
7/15/04 TheOthersFan For a film not rated "R," it deals with teen sexuality with surprising frankness 4 stars
7/10/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen Happy ending for all part a bit unrealistic. Lindsay yet to rival Freaky Friday excellence. 4 stars
7/10/04 marloes scholten the best teenage movie ever 5 stars
6/19/04 John Aster Habig true to the smallest detail based teen film since Orange County 5 stars
6/18/04 M should of been a bit more 'edgier' its too sugar coated! 3 stars
6/10/04 Savanna AWSOME!! FUINNI~! 5 stars
6/05/04 DdMM A fun, easy ride... 4 stars
5/31/04 Zierra Langham It didnt turn out the way i thought it was 4 stars
5/30/04 Alina hilarious movie 5 stars
5/28/04 Graham Though Heathers is actually better than Chekov.. 4 stars
5/27/04 Marlon makes HEATHERS look like Chekhov 2 stars
5/27/04 Ria This movie was the greatest comedy, look both ways before you cross. 5 stars
5/27/04 None Great Movie 5 stars
5/24/04 ajay surprisingly funny. The Indian dude was a crackup and you can't go wrong with Orbital!!!! 4 stars
5/24/04 Phantom Great! I saw it again just to see "Jingle Bell Rock!" 5 stars
5/23/04 Ray Zuper!!! 4 stars
5/22/04 Shark Awesome! Teen guys will fall in love with Lindsay Lohan! 5 stars
5/21/04 Blakers a great film 5 stars
5/20/04 batgirl i could watch this movie a dozen times and still laugh 5 stars
5/16/04 Chase Go see it! 5 stars
5/16/04 Marie it was just like my school def 2 stars
5/15/04 Koitus Cute film! I "personally related to" the party / puke scene, from H/S! L. Lohan is H-O-T! 4 stars
5/15/04 Blakers a great film 5 stars
5/15/04 Jay iT wAs ToTaLLy AwEsOmE n So FeTcH 5 stars
5/15/04 Jeff S Better than it had any right being, though the ending was weak. 3 stars
5/13/04 Me I am so sick of these stupid fucking teenage girl movies 1 stars
5/12/04 movieguy a great film 5 stars
5/10/04 Chiend What? No tits?!! I want my fucking money back! 1 stars
5/07/04 he a great film 5 stars
5/07/04 kevin hilarously funny! 5 stars
5/06/04 Laura I have not seen this film! 4 stars
5/06/04 Kayla I thought this movie was awesome, but then again I am a HUGE Lindsay Lohan fan!! 5 stars
5/05/04 britt actually really funny, over exageratted but true 4 stars
5/04/04 earl hofert just did not come together as i should have; horrible ending 2 stars
5/03/04 Me a great film 5 stars
5/02/04 cpbjr Funny at times, hot little girls all the time 3 stars
5/01/04 KingNeutron 3.5 *'s. Lindsay is hot as always, Rachel M looks like a young 7of9. Not bad for Tina Fey. 4 stars
5/01/04 Me A GREAT FILM I LOVED IT. 5 stars
5/01/04 susan lee tina fey rocks! 4 stars
4/28/04 Mike V Great! A really smart, funny, sweet, sarcastic take on female high school angst 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Sep-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Jun-2004 (M)


Directed by
  Mark S. Waters

Written by
  Tina Fey

Cast
  Lindsay Lohan
  Tina Fey
  Lizzy Caplan
  Lacey Chabert
  Rachel McAdams
  Tim Meadows



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