Re-Watch: Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls
Director: Mark Waters
Writer: Tina Fey
Based on: Rosalind Wiseman‘s book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdamsLizzy CaplanDaniel Franzese, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey ChabertJonathan Bennett, Tina FeyAmy Poehler, Tim Meadows
Seen on: 3.8.2016

Plot:
Cady (Lindsay Lohan) spent basically her entire childhood in Africa* with her zoologist parents (Ana Gasteyer, Neil Flynn), but now they have returned to the USA and Cady finds herself in a regular (USAmerican) high school for the first time in her life. She is understandably overwhelmed, but finds first alliances with outsiders Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese). But also the Plastics, the popular girls of the school led by Regina (Rachel McAdams) take an interest in Cady – and Cady will have to figure out where she fits in and who she is.

(*I am not sure anymore whether it’s specified where in Africa, or if this is yet another case of “Africa is a country”. But neither wikipedia nor imdb give any hint other than Africa, so I’m leaning towards the latter.)

I watched Mean Girls a few years ago and found it entertaining enough and on the better end of the teen movie spetrum, though not amazing. Since it has gained quite a cult following (on tumblr at least) in the meantime, I thought I’d give it another go. But it didn’t really change my first impression of the film.

92788_MeanGirls_Thnpck.ps, page 1 @ Normalize

I can imagine that Mean Girls strikes more of a chord if you are/were actually in an USAmerican High School. I never was and the class system I see there does not reflect my experience of school at all. While I do therefore share Cady’s initial astonishment at what school is like, I had more of a problem to accept it and basically integrate into it than she had.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun with watching her do it. There are some excellent jokes in the film and some moments where I don’t know whether I should cringe or laugh (usually in those cases I tend more towards cringing, though). Unfortunately there are also quite a few moments where I just wanted to cringe, no laughing involved.

meangirls1For me, the best thing about the film is Amanda Seyried, hands down. Her delivery of Karen’s lines is beautiful and was the surest bet to make me laugh. Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams are far from bad either, but – maybe because they had bigger roles – they weren’t able to make all of their parts fly that much.

Compared to what is often delivered in the teen film genre, Mean Girls is above the rest, and has an outspoken feminist agendy. At the same time, it’s pretty white girl feminism that can’t be bothered with any thoughts on intersectionality. And that just doesn’t work for me.

meangirls2Summarizing: Okay, but definitely not great.

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