Mean Girls ★★★½

I've been meaning to see Mean Girls for a few years now. For one thing, I'm a fan of Tina Fey and I knew she had written the screenplay (adapted from a novel). Also, I've come to understand that it's something of a cult favorite of an entire generation of young women. A year ago, one of my friends characterized it as the film women of her generation quoted the way guys of my vintage quote Star Wars. We threw some quotes at one another, which I archived on my Tumblr. I therefore knew some of the lines going into this viewing. I was eager to find out the context for some of them.

I have to say, I got a kick out of it. In some aspects, it doesn't feel terribly original but I can't offhand think of another single movie that has done a better job ridiculing the cattiness of privileged white teenage girls. It was a lot of fun to watch Rachel McAdams cut loose as the egocentric Regina George. I wish Fey's role as Ms. Norbury had been larger, not just because I dig her but I found the character interesting. I've also liked Tim Meadows since his days on Saturday Night Live and it's nice to see him in pretty much anything. I wish they'd made a companion film centered around the faculty at the school. That could have been fun.

Of course, it's really Lindsay Lohan's show and she carries it nicely. She plays Cady with enough subtlety that it isn't immediately obvious just when she really gets caught up in the world of "The Plastics". The transformation occurs organically enough that even in hindsight I'm not entirely clear when it actually happened. That's one of the keys to why the film works so well.

How Mean Girls Entered My Flickchart

Mean Girls > How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days --> #763
I like that How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days so freely admits its plot is contrived, and the chemistry between Hudson and McConaughey is charming but Mean Girls was funnier.

Mean Girls < The Music Man (1962) --> #763
As entertaining as Mean Girls is, I'm going with The Music Man here. It's rare that I enjoy a musical that much.

Mean Girls < Friday --> #763
What a great double-feature this would be! The manic energy of Chris Tucker and that speech that John Witherspoon gives about fighting without killing tip the scales here in favor of Friday.

Mean Girls > The Bells of St. Mary's --> #667
I love every scene in The Bells of St. Mary's where Ingrid Bergman is on the screen, but not much else about it. This is a solid win for Mean Girls.

Mean Girls < Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter --> #667
Mean Girls is entertaining and quotable, sure, but the premise of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter - and the absurdity that goes with it - is too much fun to lose here.

Mean Girls > The Evil Dead (1981) --> #643
For whatever reason, I didn't really get into The Evil Dead as much as I wanted to. This one goes to Mean Girls.

Mean Girls < Jeepers Creepers II --> #643
Jeepers Creepers II is a brilliant horror sequel because they just let the villain terrorize people and it's truly creepy. Mean Girls is fun, but doesn't scratch quite the same itch.

Mean Girls > High Fidelity --> #637
I identify with list-making and I'd love to shop at that record store, but otherwise I just didn't get into High Fidelity. Going with Mean Girls here for its sharp dialog.

Mean Girls > Doc Hollywood --> #634
I think I enjoyed Mean Girls more than my recollection of Doc Hollywood. I owe the latter another viewing.

Mean Girls < House of Frankenstein --> #634
I liked both, but the truth is I'd rather watch horror monsters attack one another more than I'd rather watch teenage girls attack one another.

Mean Girls entered my Flickchart at #634/1526