Some films have the good fortune to be massive commercial successes on their release, while others find an audience after some time, usually being tagged ˜cult classics.’ Mean Girls, directed by Mark Waters has managed to achieve both feats. Based on a small part of the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman and blessed with a great young cast, while boasting a script from Tina Fey and production by Saturday Night Live impresario Lorne Michaels it proved a commercial success on release, making just shy of $130m from a tiny budget of $17m. Since its release it has become a firm favourite at independent cinemas, like The Prince Charles Cinema, who often run a Mean Girls Quote-along from the increasingly avid fan base.
As a sweet-natured daughter of two zoologists, Cady Heron (Lindsey Lohan) finds the transition from being home-schooled in the ˜African Bush’ to becoming a member of a stereotypical US High School very tough. After struggling at first she becomes friends with social outcasts Janis (Lizzy Caplin) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) who explain the various cliques that exist within the school. At the top of the school food chain are ˜The Plastics’ Karen (Amanda Seyfried), Gretchin (Lacy Chabert) and their leader Regina George (Rachel McAdams) who see potential in young Cady. Spurned on by Janis to learn about the plastics with a view to eventually humiliating them, Cady joins the clique, but slowly begins to find herself becoming as obsessed with them as everyone else.
For what could so easily have been a glossy, stereotypical teenage comedy, Mean Girls surprises from the very beginning with its acerbic wit and scathing comedy. It is a legitimately laugh-out-loud script by Tina Fey (herself playing the put-upon, but kindly teacher Mrs. Norbury), which beautifully tweaks the source material while gleefully exploring the theory that high school students share more than you might think with the animal kingdom.
There are moments of bizarre satire, and amusing ˜what-ifs’ while at its core is a surprisingly empathetic and kind-spirited message about the way that we treat our enemies and in a more damaging way, our friends. Wrapped up in a candy-coated sheen of simplistic teenage comedies, Mean Girls stands head and shoulders above all its peers as ˜the’ definitive high school teenage comedy.