Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mean Girls (Movie Review)

So it turns out not all teen movies have to suck.

In the tradition of Heathers and Ten Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls (2005) is proof that satire, wit and a healthy dose of dark humor can — in fact — take a film that appeals primarily to teens and make it more than tolerable for a wide audience (though, be warned, it's nowhere near as dark at Heathers, but it's certainly darker than Ten Things).

I credit Tina Fey, long time head writer on Saturday Night Live, for that. She adapted the novel for the big screen, and also plays the role of the self-deprecating math teacher, a veritable superego to Lindsay Lohan's lead character.

And it was precisely because this film starred Lohan — whose real-life antics I'm quite tired of hearing about in the media — that I delayed watching it for so long. But much like so many reviewers out there, I was actually pleasantly surprised by her ability to be something other than a Paris Hilton-esque nuisance.

Lohan stars as a new student at a wealthy public school in Evanston, Illinois — a Chicago suburb. Though American by birth, Lohan's character spent most of her life homeschooled in Africa. She's down-to-earth, intelligent, witty, and well-liked. Though it's no surprise the students along the "periphery" are the first to welcome her to join them at lunch. But when the school's "plastics" (i.e. spoiled rich girls) also take a liking to her, her outcast friends encourage her involvement with them — if only to report back to them on the goings-on of this much-despised clique.

All's going well until she develops a crush on the lead Plastic's ex-boyfriend, at which point all of those proverbial bets are off.

The plot sounds formulaic, I know, and it is in a way. But it also pokes fun at itself, all the while still offering a moderately compelling storyline. I mean, c'mon. It's a teen comedy, so you know there's a little bildungsroman here.

Still, good enough to warrant a B- on my abstract grading scale. But they get extra credit for mentioning Walker Bros. Pancake House, the only place to go for delicious, mouth-watering blueberry pancakes.



Winter said...

This is what I love about this blog. You quote Eliot and Flaubert and then do a review of Mean Girls.

Which I liked by the way, I saw it years ago, but remember being amused.

Matthew said...

I loved the film. It was my first exposure to Ms. Lohan and I thought, "this young woman has a promising future ahead of her."

Her life started becoming a tabloid freak show moments later.

Sort of like the feeling I got when I saw Jennifer Lopez in "Out of Sight."

Her life started becoming a tabloid freak show moments later.

Matt said...

I'll have to manage my Netflix queue better.

I wasn't paying attention to what I selected a couple of months ago and now I'm swimming in movies about Palestinians and suicide bombers.

disgruntled world citizen said...

High School movies give me flashbacks of high school...

Beth said...

I enjoyed the movie, and I give Tina Fey all the credit.

Stacy said...

I saw a preview and said NO WAY. I can't comment fairly on this critique.

Lee said...

I thought it was cute and as a mom to a teenager, I can tell you it's not really too far fetched.