Mean Girls DVD: Review By justincase

  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
Jesus, God... not another teen-angst pic driven by Lindsay Lohan?!

How about $86,000,000? Eighty-Six Million Dollars. Let that ring in your ears for a few seconds. That is a ton of money. Holy sh*t. Teen angst and high-school cliques generating that kind of return at the megaplex is most astonishing.

Based on Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman, Mean Girls gives us a lot to enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I dont' think there is anywhere near $86 million in domestic box office there. BUT, this pic is pretty fun.

Yep, here it is. Lohan delivers, yet again, the key role in the pained formative teen years comedy. Joining Lohan are Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and Tina Fey -- rounding out a cast superbly qualified to show us the back-story on teen cliques. Along the way, we're treated to some very funny side-bits, like the coach and his heavy-handed sex-ed classes that are in direct contradiction to his penchant for feeling up the Asian hotties after class.

Pretty high-school newcomer, Cady (Lohan), has just arrived from home-schooling overseas (in Africa) and is plunging into the deep-end of the high-school social pool. Within only a few days, she's in over her head with "The Plastics", the in-clique of high-school beauty queens that talk trash, plot social drama and generally rule the school. What starts as Cady's attempt to work with the goth-girl, Janis (Lizzy Caplan), and the token-gay, Damian (Daniel Franzese), to expose and exploit "The Plastics" and all their snobbery and fakeness ends up like all good undercover plots. The "undercover agent" starts to get lured and sucked-in by the dark-side and fights to maintain her core, amidst the hypocrisy and corruption she's trying to expose.

"The Plastics" are the the epitome of mean girls. Cady, in wading in the pool, turns into a mean girl, herself. However, while her transformation is dramatic, she is still in touch, somewhere deep inside, with her core values that, ultimately, pull her back from the brink.

Predictable, but funny. Timely and truthful. Mean Girls paints a very enjoyable charicature of the environment and relationships girls face in high-school. The message, here, is a strong one, though... especially for anyone in or soon-to-be entering high-school. It is truly unfortunate that the audience that this picture is most applicable to and could most educate, is too close to the social conflicts parodied in the film to really understand the message.

If you can still remember the harsh realities and politics and social rules of high-school, you'll find this movie entertaining and insightful. You'll recognize the characters, both the main cast and the supporters.

...the girls have gone wild

The film is edited with some really tasteful and funny cut-ins that parallel the teen-girl "world" with the "animal kingdom". Survival is tenuous and playing by the "laws of the jungle" (the girl world rules) is crucial. The funny thing about the "rules" in high-school is that no one, really, knows what they are...until they break them. Perhaps its just that certain very hateful individuals are just looking for an excuse to belittle and demean certain people to make themselves (in their own estimation) more appealing. Maybe there really are no rules, but certain people make up that they've been broken and try to "sell" that concept to the crowd in order to re-order the social schema.

Survival of the fittest, indeed.

Funny, though, that (at least in my own experience) those Mean Girls are always the ones that end up married to and divorced from the high-school football star and living back at home working in the local diner. All the kids that those bitchy-witches were so mean to go on to make great strides in their lives. Truly, it appears that the meanestgirl world rules really are the most insecure and self-concious which is why they never amount to much beyond the limited pool of high-school.

In the end, Mean Girls is a tale about how it is so easy in those teen years to get terribly caught up in being liked. At a time when we're forming our personalities and shaping our future, we're fighting for survival amidst a pool of pirannha. This holds true, it seems, especially for girls.

Think about this, in your post-viewing analysis... Do the girl world rules really end in high-school, or do they carry on -- in varying degrees -- through college and even into the "real world"? I know that there are a few moms out there that still (try to) play by those girl world rules. Really! GROW UP ALREADY!
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by Mark Waters (director), Tina Fey (screenwriter & actress) and Lorne Michaels (producer) - This is a decent track with lots of interesting bits. It is clear that Fey and Waters both have a lot of respect for the material from Wiseman's book and they really do enjoy their jobs of translating it to the screen. Overall, it is an "average" track and probably not worth going through to the end (I certainly didn't make it all the way through).

Featurettes:

Only the Strong Survive

The Politics of Girl World

Plastic Fashion

Taken together, using the PLAY ALL, these are a pretty interesting set of mini-features. One of the most interesting pieces is Wiseman's discussions of the origin of her book and the motivations for the stories and characters. The rest is pretty "vanilla" stuff that you'd expect of the special features.

Word Vomit is a pretty funny blooper reel that shows us some of the behind the scenes goofs that we've come to expect on all our DVDs.

So Fetch - Deleted Scenes gives us, yet again, all the reasons why these scenes don't get in the film. Yeah, decent enough and some are downright hilarious. Pranks that didn't get executed on the girls, though, are what we really missed and it is worth checking these out to get those. Another scene that should have been in the film is the scene with Cady and her mom in the store, shopping for shoes, where the "true language" spoken is keyed-in as subtitles so we really know what is going on. I always knew there was more going on with women than I could figure out...
THE VIDEO
On the 23" Philips HD LCD, playing progressive scan video off the DVDR615, the pic is crisp, clear, and colorful, exuding all the brilliant colors of the high-school palette. Great transfer and fantastic colors, visually very appealing.
THE AUDIO
I didn't jam this through the entire system, so the audio is playing off the simulated surround on the Philips LCD stereo speakers. Sounded great. Some good tunes buried in the pic and a few rather startling effects. Very nice, but it doesn't require your FULL set-up.
THE FINAL WORD
Funny and intelligent, Mean Girls is well worth checking out. For most, it is a fine rental... For a few, you'll want to drop it on your shelf and play it when your daughter turns 14. The message is timeless.

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