Mean Girls

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/06/2004

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Frequently hilarious teen comedy with a witty script and likeable characters – this is further proof that Lindsay Lohan is fast becoming THE teen star of the noughties.

Director Mark Waters scored a massive hit last year with the hugely enjoyable remake of Freaky Friday, which earned Jamie Lee Curtis a Golden Globe nomination and also put Rising Teen Star Lindsay Lohan firmly on the map as someone to watch.

Worthy Of Comparisons To Heathers

Mean Girls re-teams Waters with Lohan and throws in a brilliantly witty script by Saturday Night Live alumnus Tina Fey, based on Rosalind Wiseman’s bestseller Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities Of Adolescence. The result is that rare thing – an enjoyable, genuinely hilarious teen comedy that’s actually worthy of comparisons to Heathers.

Lohan plays Cady Heron, a teenage girl who starts high school after having been home schooled in Africa till she was 16. She's quickly befriended by a quirky girl, Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and her gay best friend Damien (Daniel Franzese), but the Popular Girls ('The Plastics', headed by Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert) make a play for her too and her 'real' friends persuade her to infiltrate the Plastics so she can report back with juicy gossip for maximum sabotage.

However the plan backfires and Cady finds herself becoming just as much of a bitch as her new 'friends'.

Mean Girls has got pretty much everything you could want from a high school comedy - lots of hilarious, quotable lines, some great sight gags (a running gag comparing high school kids to the African wildlife; a terrifically executed ‘horror movie’ entrance; a very funny montage sequence of plans that misfire) and some revealing insights into modern high school life, such as with the three-way call ambush in which Girl A calls Girl B and invites her to bitch about Girl C, while unaware that Girl C is listening in.

Care And Attention To Character Development

Although ultimately not quite as deliciously dark as Heathers, Mean Girls definitely shares a certain cynical sensibility as well as a love of made-up teenspeak – witness Lacey Chabert’s unsuccessful attempts to introduce “totally fetch” as a catchphrase throughout the film.

Crucially, a lot of care and attention has gone into creating the characters, with the result that almost everybody gets a share of the funny lines, including the teachers. Of the cast, Lohan is the (ahem) obvious stand-out – she’s completely adorable throughout the film and manages to retain our sympathy even when you gradually realise she’s gone too far.

The rest of the cast are extremely good, though Daniel Franzese deserves special mention for his work in the Gay Best Friend role (his talent show scene is hilarious) and screenwriter Tina Fey gives herself several great lines as Ms Norbury.

In short, Mean Girls is a sharply written, well observed, smartly directed teen movie with likeable characters and several hilarious gags. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 06/12/2019 04:50

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