Mean Girls Movie Review
At first glance, it looks like a cliché girl comedy, but in fact Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan, is one of the funniest teen comedies to come along in quite a while.
Directed by Mark S. Waters, the man who directed Lohan to success with last year's Freaky Friday, and written by "Saturday Night Live" writer/actress Tina Fey, Mean Girls puts a great spin on the generic teen formula without venturing into the gross-out style that seems to be so popular. The dialogue is witty, the direction is clever and every character is about as entertaining as can be. Fey's jokes tear up the audience almost constantly, especially the line about Danny DeVito (you have to see it to hear it).
Lohan, in her second movie this year, is great in the lead. She plays Cady Heron, a junior in high school that has been home-schooled in Africa since she was little. Cady is quickly introduced to the fierce world of high school politics, and she soon becomes friends with three girls known as The Plastics, the picture-perfect Barbies that everyone loves to hate. At first, Cady finds little wrong with them, but after the ring leader, Regina (Rachel McAdams, who will star in the more serious The Notebook later this year), sabotages her chance to get with the guy her dreams, Cady sets out to expose them for who they are. Soon, things get out of hand as Cady not only becomes obsessed with bringing down her enemies, but also starts to turn into them.
The great thing about Mean Girls is that it isn't like other teen comedies. Most of these movies have goofy jokes, artificial characters and lame romances that always end the same way. Mean Girls, on the other hand, has clever humor, deeper characters and a romance that doesn't seem like it has been recycled a hundred times over. Better yet, the romance isn't the central focus of the story; revenge is. At the same time, its portrayal of high school isn't drastically different from those other movies, but Mean Girls has an edge that just makes it hilarious.
The movie does stutter near the end as it tries to delve deeper into the moral issues that have been raised, deeper than we really want the movie to go. I would have preferred to have seen Regina go down in flames, but Fey goes the less conventional (and less satisfying) way by not doing that so simply. The ending isn't bad, but is a bit slow.
Mean Girls is a very satisfying and hilarious teen comedy that can appeal to both younger and older audiences. As a 22-year old college guy, I wasn't expecting much at all, but Fey pleasantly surprised me. If only she could write as good of jokes for "SNL."
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.