Teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs of Illinois, Cady finally gets to experience public school and gets a quick primer on the cruel, tacit laws of popularity that divide her fellow students into tightly knit cliques. She unwittingly finds herself in the good graces of an elite group of cool students dubbed “the Plastics,” but Cady soon realizes how her shallow group of new friends earned this nickname.
All throughout high school, tons of my female classmates quoted Mean Girls on a regular basis, saying things like “That’s so fetch” and “On Wednesdays we wear pink”. I knew it was from that movie somehow despite never having seen it. Another Mean Girls reference I saw all the time on social media was a scene from the film that reads “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was”.
For such a long time I never watched the movie because I thought it was just a silly girls flick. It just didn’t look like it would be my cup of tea. But eventually, I caved in back in grade ten and decided to give it a watch and was absolutely gobsmacked to discover that it was actually kind of amazing. Who would have figured? Suddenly I understood why people were quoting the film like it was some sort of iconic property. It kind of is. Mean Girls is a staple in the coming-of-age genre and one of the most iconic movies of the 2000s.
After watching it for the first time years ago, I just couldn’t get enough. So what did I do? I watched it two more times that week because I loved it so much. Yes, you heard me right. Sure, Mean Girls may be more enjoyable for female audiences, but I have to admit that as a guy, it’s still terrific in so many regards.
For starters, it’s wonderfully hilarious in virtually every way. It’s a high school comedy that has much smarter writing than it has any right to have. There are plenty of clever, witty jokes that both teens and adults will get a kick out of. But as funny as the film is, one of its biggest strengths lies within its characters. The development each character is given is terrific.
Our heroine Cady Heron is a drastically different person at the end of the movie than she was in the beginning. Moving to the United States from Africa and attending a new and unfamiliar high school would be difficult for anybody, and it’s no exception for Cady. She doesn’t really have any friends at first, but that all changes when she meets the Plastics, who are the most popular girls in the entire school.
They have a list of rules that each member has to follow. For example, you are not allowed to wear sweatpants in the Plastics, it’s as simple as that. At first, they seem innocent enough, even Regina George (Rachel McAdams), but as the movie progresses, you get to see how Cady hanging around them drastically changes her life, and it’s not necessarily for the better.
Mean Girls is a surprisingly touching story that many people will be able to relate to. It’s a story about learning how to become a better person, but in order to do that, you have to figure out who you truly are. This movie showcases this excellently.
And of course, each and every one of the actors in this film are absolutely perfect for their role. I genuinely cannot see anybody else besides Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lacey Chabert in the roles of Cady, Regina, Gretchen, and Karen respectively.
One of these days I will have to check out the made-for-television sequel Mean Girls 2 despite the largely negative reception it received. Not only does it not continue the story of the first movie, but it brings in a completely new cast of characters. Here’s hoping that one of these days we will get a proper sequel with each actress from this original classic reprising their wonderful roles.
Mean Girls expertly blends amazing comedy with a touching and honest story mixed with some of the most iconic performances of the 2000s.
Overall Grade: A+
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, language, and some teen partying
Directed by: Mark Waters
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: April 30, 2004
Running Time: 97 minutes