Mean Girls is what a large number of people would consider a silly teen comedy. It tells the story of a previously home-schooled, brought up in Africa, adolescent who enters a cliquish high school environment. Essentially the film focuses our attention on a number of psychological issues touched in almost every similar teen movie. In the beginning the issue is adaptation to a new environment, and as the movie unfolds it centers on social cliques, female friend relationships, social prejudice, social influence, rivalry, or as the professor I heard put it - relational aggression.
What is especially interesting about the movie, in my opinion, is that it illustrates an unbelievably highly stratified societal group, and thus helps the viewer unequivocally identify with and easily take a stand on the issues discussed. Metaphorically it serves as a microscope for us to observe social interactions with. Moreover the actions of the protagonists are so blatantly right or wrong that they eliminate any ambiguity that might arise of considering the things happening in another environment or under other circumstances. That way the viewer simply focuses on the darkest characteristics of female interactions in society. In this sense the film is not about adolescent girls and their experiences in high school but rather about the most negative features of female friend relations in adolescence.
The very same genuineness of the film makes it so hilarious at many points. What prevents us from laughing at the ridiculous social trends, prejudices, and many people's beliefs, most possibly including ours, in reality is that our actual emotions and thoughts rarely come up to the surface. Even our actions in most situations are covert. Yet, paradoxically, our way of thinking is shaped by society which constitutes of other people who are also as secretive in this sense as we are. And this covert way of feeling and thinking contributes greatly to the growth of prejudice, misunderstanding, and ... meanness.
Revealing a prejudice I hold, I have always believed that the single most important objective of a film is to provide food for thought. That is why I think this teen comedy ranks among the best ones I have seen recently.