Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Franzese
"Mean Girls" Review
In its approach to teen comedy, this film is much closer to "Heathers" than a John Hughes film...and it's blessed with a razor sharp script by Saturday Night Live's own Tina Fey, who also makes a nice move to the big screen in a supporting role in the film. This film is funnier than its trailer.
Lindsey Lohan offers another strong performance here as Cady, a sixteen-year-old who was raised in Africa by her parents before moving to Evanston, Illinois. Her transition to high school is, of course, traumatic until she attracts attention by the "Plastics." Of course, she has her "loser friends" and is attracted to the star athlete, who just happens to be Regina's (head of the "Plastics") ex-boyfriend. Sure, there are lots of teen film stereotypes here...but, the script by Fey takes these stereotypes and develops witty observations, dark comedy and moments of great insight. The film pushes the envelope for a PG-13 film, and I'd caution against younger children seeing this film.
The performances back up the script nicely, including a funny, sensitive performance by Fey...a wonderful turn by Lohan and a nice performance by "too gay to function" Daniel Franzese." As "The Plastics," relative newcomers Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and Rachel McAdams all turn in strong performances. My only quibble with casting, and I've read several critics who disagreed, is with Tim Meadows. Perhaps it is my fondness for the Jimmy Fallon/Tina Fey teamwork, but this just felt awkward to me. Meadows' flirting simply never seemed believable, and his facial expressions just seemed plain bizarre. The only exception to this feeling was during his response to the discovery of "The Burn Book," in which Meadows is allowed to cut loose and he begins to shine.
You will find SNL cameos, of course, since this film is produced by Lorne Michaels...along with Fey and Meadows, you have an appearance by Ana Gasteyer as Cady's mom, Amy Poehler with a hilarious turn as Mrs. George and a brief appearance by Molly Shannon.
The film features a great soundtrack, including a closing cover of "Dancing With Myself" by The Donnas.
This film is a great matinee, and highly recommended for fans of Tina Fey (as a writer or performer). Fans of teen films will find much to like here, and those who have not so fond memories of high school will chuckle with familiarity. "Mean Girls" is a nice way to spend an afternoon.