(L-R) Lacey Chabert as Gretchen, Rachel McAdams as Regina, Lindsay Lohan as Cady and Amanda Seyfried as Karen in "Mean Girls"
I was really looking forward to this movie. First of all, I've read the book: "Queen Bees and Wannabes" by Rosalind Wiseman. This is a non-fiction book; her thesis is that social pressures on teenage girls can lead them to make very poor choices. (As did Wiseman, who was in an abusive relationship as a teenager.) I actually wrote up a fictional treatment myself, which will probably never see the light of day, because it is nowhere near as funny as this one by Saturday Night Live head writer Tina Fey, who plays a cute maths teacher. While SNL may not be particularly funny these days, Mean Girls is charged with a truly caustic sense of humour. It had the cinema audience I was with laughing themselves silly.
If Fey needed more material on bitchy Queen Bee types, she could do no better than ask her star, Lindsay Lohan, who showed up at the premier of "Cheaper by the Dozen" at the invitation of 20th Century Fox, only to have Hillary Duff attempt to have her thrown out, first by the Hillary's huge minder Troy, and then by 20th Century Fox executives! (To their credit, the executives stood up to a screaming match by Hillary and her mother and even persuaded Lohan to stay.)
Lohan plays Cady (rhymes with Sadie the Cleaning Lady), a new girl at an American High School who, having been home-schooled in Africa, has never been to school before. Cady has to learn the three B's: bullying, backbiting and bitchiness. Fortunately for her, she is a "hottie" -- surely the understatement of the year -- and soon falls in with the local A list: Queen Bee Regina (Rachel MacAdams), Banker Gretchen (Lacey Chabert -- the incredibly annoying Penny from the movie version of "Lost in Space") and Sidekick Amanda (Karen Smith).
In this movie, as in the book, boys have no agency; schools are run by cliques of girls, who keep the boys and each other in line with teasing, rumours and power games. Cady soon crosses Regina by going after an ex-boyfriend. Cady gets to do to Regina a number of things that Lohan would just love to do to Duff. She also gets to sing and dance a bit. Hey, I loved her in "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" but this is even better.