Review by Michael Jacobson
Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tim Meadows, Lacey Chabert, Amanda
Seyfried, Tina Fey
Director: Mark Waters
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Features: See Review
Length: 96 Minutes
Release Date: September 21, 2004
if you’re from Africa…why are you white?”
my GOD, Karen…you can’t just ASK people why they’re white!!”
Girls is the
funniest high school comedy since Heathers. ‘Nuff said?
I’ll say more…I haven’t laughed so loud, so hard, so often at a single
movie in as long as I can remember…and dang, it felt good. Cathartic, really. This
is a film that is gleefully wicked from start to finish, and isn’t afraid to
present a dose of comedy on the edge of a straight razor.
year old Cady Heron (Lohan) spent twelve of her young years in Africa with her
zoological researching parents and being home schooled, but now that the family
has returned to the States, it finally means her first foray into public school.
And needless to say, she probably sees more wild things in her first day
of school than she did her entire life in Africa!
awkward is an understatement…poor Cady can’t understand why she can’t get
up and go to the restroom when she needs, let alone the new high school world of
cliques. The royalty of her school
is a group of three girls dubbed ‘The Plastics’:
ditzy blonde Karen (Seyfried), perpetual gossip Gretchen (Chabert), and
the cold, calculating leader, Regina (McAdams). They’re the ones the other girls hate, but also want to be
Regina takes a liking to the new girl, poor Cady has no idea what’s in store,
but she learns quickly in a crash course how to walk, talk, and think like the
most popular girls in school. At
first, she uneasily goes along at the prompting of two art student friends as a
means to find out what goes on in the inner circle of The Plastics, but soon
finds herself way over her head when she gets a crush on a handsome boy in her
math class, who just happens to be (gasp!) Regina’s ex-boyfriend.
the gloves come off and the polished buffed nails get revealed, will our sweet
innocent Cady be turned into fresh tiger meat by her newfound ‘friends’?
Or has Cady learned a little bit more than she’s let on about how to be
a mean girl?
plot is easily sketched, but it alone doesn’t constitute half the movie’s
entertainment value. The script,
penned by Saturday Night Live alumnist Tina Fey and based on a real
collection of non-fiction vignettes from girls in high school, is filled with
sharp observations, witty ideas, and an ability to explore the social rituals of
high school in a realistic, though completely hysterical way.
Maybe that’s the point…looking back at what we did to get along in
school really is enough to make us laugh, even if we cry first.
of the best bits include how Cady turns the tables on Regina’s constant desire
to be thinner, or the way she tries to win the boy’s affections by pretending
that he’s better in math than she when he’s really clueless, the school
talent show, the final dance…and oh, yeah, the typical phys ed coach who has
to give the class on health management (“If you have sex, you WILL get
pregnant, and you WILL die!!”). Even
Cady’s parents are a scream (“Where’s Cady?”
“She went out.” “She’s
GROUNDED!” “Does…that mean she can’t go out?”).
to delve into too many details would rob new viewers of the pleasure of
discovering the movie’s diabolical twists and turns and its revelations of
black humor. I’ll instead just
say that with the barrage of mostly mindless, immature gross out teen comedies
of late, it’s an absolute pleasure to find one that actually has a brain in
its head and that assumes its audience has one, too.
Mean Girls will induce torrential amounts of gut-busting
laughter…and best of all, you won’t feel bad at yourself for laughing
TRIVA: Director Mark Waters and
star Lindsay Lohan worked together before, on the surprise comedy hit Freaky
is a stunning anamorphic transfer from Paramount (full frame version also
available). The colors are rich and
vibrant, the detail level from the foregrounds to backgrounds of every scene is
sharp and striking, and no compression, bleeding or artifacting exist to mar the
imagery. Top notch.
5.1 soundtrack is lively and dynamic mostly owing to the music score, but there
are a few big scenes (including a big hallway brawl) where all channels slip
into the action. Dialogue is clean
and concisely delivered, and crossover signals are smooth and flow evenly, with
good amounts of dynamic range.
special collector’s edition is loaded with hours of goodies, starting with an
enjoyable commentary track from director Mark Waters, writer/co-star Tina Fey,
and producer Lorne Michaels. Three
production featurettes (viewable together or separately; your choice) showcase
the cast and crew and delve into bringing the vision of Mean Girls to the
screen. There is a good blooper
reel, nine deleted scenes with optional commentary from Waters and Fey, three
hilarious interstitials, a trailer, and plenty of previews for other Paramount
titles. By the way, I have to say
that the trailer is TERRIBLE…someone in marketing obviously didn’t want
young audiences to know that this WASN’T just another mindless teen flick!