Mean Girls

High school is a weird place to be. So when Saturday Night Live head writer and co-anchor of Weekend Update Tina Fey read the article "Queen Bees and Wannabes" by Rosalind Wiseman, which was later expanded into a book, Fey felt that she could incorporate some of the ideas about how teenagers act into a movie. It certainly feels like there are some ideas just below the surface, trying to break through, but Mean Girls is no different that most other teenage movies about the lure of popularity. The way that Fey goes about observing the social structure of high school cliques is through the eyes of Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Freaky Friday).

To this point, Cady was home-schooled in Africa, so she has no clue about the intricacies of social interaction. There are a few witty comments comparing high schoolers to jungle animals, but it almost never goes deeper than this. Social outcasts goth Janis (Lizzy Caplan, Hardcore Action News, Orange County) and gay Damian (Daniel Franzese, Party Monster, Bully) immediately adopt her as their own, and go about introducing the various levels of high school coolness. Cady is smart and attractive, and her teacher Ms. Norbury (Fey) wants her to join the math team, but Cady is much more interested in "the Plastics," the top of the social structure. These are the girls that everybody fears and aspires to be.

Under the pretense of infiltrating them, Cady befriends Regina George (Rachel McAdams, The Hot Chick, Perfect Pie), Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert, Daddy Day Care, Rugrats Go Wild!), and the ditzy Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). She knows that these girls are mean and evil, yet the lure of vaulting to the top of the food chain is too much for Cady, and she soon finds herself acting more and more like them. When she falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett, Season of Youth) the kid gloves come off, and Regina and Cady declare war on each other.

With a title like Mean Girls, everything in the film is surprisingly tame. The all-out cat fighting that one would expect from rival high school girls is never there. The backstabbing isn't really there. The fact that Cady goes about planning how to get revenge is different, since it shows a high-schooler actually thinking, which is rare for this type of film. Everything else is just, well, blah. Yet this is still a little better than most of the other similar movies. Director Mark S. Waters (Freaky Friday, Head Over Heels) previously worked with Lohan in Frealy Friday. They seem to work well together, and this is undoubtedly another step for Lohan, whose profile is getting higher with each movie. Her performance here still isn't as good as it was in Freaky Friday, but it was better than Confessions.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, and some teen partying

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