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Mean Girls isn't your average teen comedy, which you can tell are
written by adults who have no insight into the social politics that
revolve around teenage life, and who consequently divide everyone into
two groups - cool (jocks and cheerleaders) and uncool (goths and
science nerds). And it is this inherent understanding of teen life,
that writer Tina Fey has applied to the film which makes it stand out,
and such a pleasure to watch.
Cady Herron (played by Lindsay Lohan) is starting her first day of school - and she's 16. She's been home-schooled all her life (in Africa), and is totally unprepared for and untutored in the ways of an American high school. She quickly befriends Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese), two of the biggest social outcasts in school. However, after a chance encounter in the canteen with the plastics (teen royalty), otherwise known as Regina George (Rachel Macadams), Gretched Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), Cady's world begins to change dramatically as she is sucked in by the rules and cliques of Girlworld.
The dialogue in the film is sharp and witty, not the OTT Dawson's Creek or O.C. teen-speak. The teenagers actually look like teenagers, not like 30 year olds playing teenagers. And what holds the film together are the great performances from the actors. They're all perfect. Lindsay Lohan is perfect as Cady, the clueless girl who gets a taste of popularity and has to have more. Lizzy Caplan is a revelation as Janis, a punk character who would be sidelined either as a freak, or as a candidate for a makeover, in any other teen movie. But it is the actresses who play the plastics who truly stand out. Lacey Chabert is ideal as Gretchen, the insecure, 2nd-in command girl, who fakes her friendship with Regina just to be considered popular. Amanda Seyfried, as the ultimate dumb blonde Karen, has impeccable comic timing. And rising Hollywood star Rachel Macadams, as Regina George, is the stand-out in the film as the manipulative bitch who has to stay on top at all costs.
Mean Girls isn't just a film for teen girls and gay guys. Most of my (straight) male friends love it, and everyone I know who's seen it recognises elements of the film and the characters from their own secondary school experiences. Mean Girls is, as Gretchen would say (in keeping with "British" slang, even though I'm English and the term just doesn't exist!), that the film is just So Fetch.