Mean Girls Review: A Look At When Lindsay Lohan Was Relevant
Mean Girls revolves around a 16 year old girl named Cady (pronounced like Katie) who has spent her life being home schooled in Africa by her zoologist parents. For reasons which are unimportant, Cady’s family has to move back to America and Cady (Lindsay Lohan) needs to attend a public high school. Early on, she meets Janis and Damien (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese), two eccentric students who take a liking to Cady. Janis and Damien explain the various cliques of the school to Cady. They also warn Cady of the plastics, the three most popular girls who dominate the school. However the plastics take a liking to Cady, so she, Janis, and Damien hatch a plan for Cady to observe what the plastics do in order to break them from the inside. But the more time Cady spends with the plastics, the more like them she becomes.
Some may wonder why I’m choosing to make my The Artifice debut with a review of Mean Girls, most view it as nothing more than a decent comedy. Not bad, but not remarkable either. But to a certain group, Mean Girls is a classic. A generation of teens have really latched onto the film. Each generation is said to have a film or two with defines their high school experiences. In that sense, Mean Girls is to females what Superbad is to males. Surprisingly though, a large amount of males have championed Mean Girls as well. For long time, people would be shocked when I told them I hadn’t seen the film. Well, their shock can come to an end. I’ve seen Mean Girls, and I’m eager to chime in with my thoughts.
Probably the most consistently good thing about the film is the cast. All of the actors do a pretty good job with the material. Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese both deserve credit for making two extremely likable characters in Janis and Damien. These two were always fun to watch and the film is smart in not overusing them. Rachel McAdams delivers a very entertaining performance as the leader of the plastics, Regina George. At times, she can be an awful person, but she also displays the type of charisma that make her popularity believable. There’s also a lot of small performances which are a lot of fun from actors such as Amy Poehler, Tim Meadows, and Tina Fey (who also wrote the script). The protagonist herself isn’t actually all that interesting, but Lohan delivers a decent performance and handles the character’s arc nicely.
The story of the film is actually fairly engaging for the most part, and the morals at the heart of the film are strong. Granted, the morals aren’t exactly very original, nor are they delivered in a subtle way, but they’re an important message people should get all the same. Unfortunately the film starts to run into some trouble in the third act. Without giving away too much, there comes a point where I thought the drama had reached its high point. Tensions were high between characters, I was invested in the story and wanted to see how things would play out. But instead of following through with that, the film attempted to raise the stakes even higher resulting in any tension the film had going for it disappearing. Instead, everything just got silly and overblown. I also find the very end to the film wrapped things up way too easily. I also wasn’t fond of the high school stereotypes presented, or the unnecessary narration.
I may have been more lenient on the issues above had the film been funnier. Now I will say, Mean Girls does have some funny bits spread throughout. There were actually a few lines that got me to laugh out loud, but the film was never the laugh riot I think it was suppose to be. Granted, this didn’t bother me for the most part. Like I said, the story is actually pretty engaging. But when the film started to fall apart in the third act, I found myself noticing the lack of laughter much more.
Overall, I can see why Mean Girls has the following it does. I have a feeling most of my complaints are not shared by the fan base. In fact, in some cases I think the fan base loves the elements I’m not fond of. I can’t say I feel the same way about Mean Girls as the fans do, but I understand their feelings. I should also note that I did enjoy Mean Girls, more than I thought I would in fact. It’s a very cute film. That may sound like faint praise, but I think it’s something worth valuing.
What do you think? Leave a comment.