"Mean Girls" (2004) Film Review

Back to School 2023: Mean Girls (2004) – Gateway Film Center

"Mean Girls" Film Review

Rating: 4/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    "Mean Girls" is easily one of the most iconic and quotable comedies of the 2000's. From the mind of then-SNL star Tina Fey, and directed by Mark Waters, this high school comedy is hilarious, fun, and undoubtedly wild at times. There have been many other high school comedies that have tried to charm an audience and ultimately fail, but there is something about this picture here that lets is stand the test of time, proving to be a favorite among generations. 

    The movie is centered around Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), who is a new student in America. Her parents were wildlife researchers in Africa, forcing her to become accustomed to the ways of doing things in that country. Therefore, when she comes to America and is thrown into this world of popularity and friendships in high school, she must learn to swim so she doesn't drown. Thankfully, two outcasts, Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) take her under their wing, to show her the ropes. 

    However, at the same time, she reaches the attention of the Plastics, a group of super-mean girls ran by Regina George (Rachel McAdams) and followed by her loyal "friends" Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). They decide to also take her under their wing, adopting her into this society of popular girls. Janis and Damian are all for the idea, as they can learn all this intel about the toxic group at school. However, when the power goes to her head, Cady starts to exhibit symptoms of being another mean girl. Will she be able to stop it before she loses her true friends? 

    This is the pivotal movie for teenage comedies, and it is definitely worth its title. This movie is hilarious and witty, from beginning to end. Fey really crafted this screenplay so every single scene will receive a laugh, and I think she succeeded for the most part. It is not really due to the way the jokes are written or the circumstances in where they are said, but it's because of these characters she crafted. From Cady to Janis and Regina to Karen, all of these characters are impeccably written and so unique in their own ways. 

    However, I don't think it would have worked as well if the actors didn't give their all here. Thankfully, every single performer here knew what they had to do and how to play these specific characters. Lohan is lovely as this character of Cady, going from not understanding how the world works to becoming the new mean girl of the school. At the same time, Caplan and Franzese are absolutely hilarious in this film, and easily steal the show in almost every scene they are in. 

    Regarding the mean girls present here in the movie, all three of them do a fantastic job. McAdams just oozes cruelty and meanness in this role, which works so well considering how she seems like such a lovely person in real life. Her character is written so well, but is elevated by McAdam's performance. While she may be the queen bee here, Chabert and Seyfried easily play such lovable and memorable roles. Chabert is great at being so clingy and desperate, while Seyfried delivers a smart way of playing stupid, and all three simply work together so well. 

    While there are some scenes here that don't work and some outdated jokes for this day and age, the story as whole is able to drive the message in that people should just be nice to one another. The climax of this film, where the entire school gymnasium is full of girls who have been spreading lies and rumors about one another, really pushes the message that as humans, we should just be kind to one another. So, even though Fey was really trying to craft a hilarious high school comedy, she was also able to deliver an impactful and inspiring message that can resonate with a lot of viewers.

    This movie is a bonafide comedy classic, and is easily hilarious every time you watch it. It has gone on to inspire a Broadway musical and a whole musical reboot film based off this movie from Tina Fey. I'm sure this movie had a hand in elevating Fey's career and respectability in Hollywood, while also giving these young actors and actresses a chance in the business. It is hard not to enjoy this movie, and it will easily be even more appreciated in many years to come.