For the record, I was not planning on watching this movie at all. I mean, seriously, why would a 16-year old boy with a love for thrillers and an absolute loathing for “chick flicks” possibly be interested in watching a film that, at first glance, looks like it fits right into the latter genre? Then a certain Mateojitz (you know who you are) on Letterboxd–a site I unfortunately just had to leave for personal reasons, by the way–watched it and gave it a slightly mixed 7/10 review, but said I should definitely watch it myself upon being asked by me. And so I did. And boy, did it really surprise me with how truly sharp and utterly original it was. I never thought I would actually type that last sentence to describe a film with the title of Mean Girls, but here we are, I guess.
The film’s setup sounds like a typical fish-out-of-water situation: Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan, before all her little DUIs and jail visits), a sixteen-year old girl who’s never known anything except the African plains around her, suddenly finds herself in public school when her parents move to Illinois with her in tow. However, Mean Girls soon proves itself to be a lot cleverer (and more subversive) than that once Cady breaks into the school’s most popular clique, the “Plastics”–and, with the help of a couple new friends, eventually schemes to mentally break its top member, Regina.
Of course, the last 20 minutes or sogive us the most ridiculously tacked-on “happy ending” you could ever imagine (the reason why Mateo’s thoughts on the film wound up being so split, which I totally don’t blame him for at all), complete with a Big Heartfelt Speech that really made me want to groan more than anything, but everything elsein this biting look at the true hell that is high school just fulfills the three essential F-words of comedy–Funny, Fresh, and so totally Fetch(only those who have seen the movie will know what I mean by that)–so shockingly well that I’m pretty much forced to overlook that annoying last-act sappiness. No, seriously, the film’sthat good.
I could really get into specifics aboutthe groovy soundtrack,Annie Hall-esque fourth-wall breaking, slyly satirical elements (the sex-ed scenesin particular are an especially good example of that, and are easily among my favorite parts of the entire movie), and endlessly hilarious/quotable dialogue, but that, along with the trailer (please, please don’t watch it; I’m begging you)would be ruining the pure comedic pleasure of seeing all of those things for yourself. Even if you’re a girl flick-hating male just like me, there’s no denying that there’s a lot of fun to be had with these Mean Girls. Just trust me on that one, OK?
Note: In the middle of writing this review, I saw Mean Girls 2, a direct-to-video “sequel” that completely rips off its predecessor’s basic plot while having absolutely no connections to that first film barTim Meadows’s character (completely ruined)and the word “Plastics” (no, not the "Plastics" group. Just the word, which was also completely ruined). And, of course, it was quite literally the Lifetime Original Movie version of that first film in everything but name (the fact that it didpremiere on ABC Family really says it all), and as typing up full-length reviews of Lifetime Original Movies would seriously be damaging my image of a credible film critic, let me just summarize my feelings about it right here: It sucked. In every single way possible. Don’t watch it.
You want an actual grade? OK, here’s a grade for you: 1/10. No, seriously, it’s that bad. Again, don’t watch it. See ya.(And Mateo, I am so sorry for recommending that particular film to you before I’d seen how terrible it was, even if it was only because “you saw the first one”. I hope that someday, you can find it in your heart to forgive me for that.)