The endlessly quotable Mean Girls (Dir. Mark Waters, 2004) celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. From sleepover institution to cult-classic, the gaudy fashion, clever one liners, and that rendition of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, is ingrained in the minds of every teen of the noughties. As fresh as ever, the comedy only gets more ‘fetch’ with age, with events such as ‘quote-a-long’ screenings springing from its increasingly loyal fanbase.
At the height of Lindsay Lohan’s career, she plays the role of Cady Heron, entering the unknown territory that is high school after being raised by her parents in Africa. Making comparisons between the school and the African safari, Mean Girls is an expose of the social landscape of high school, and the lengths that teens go to to secure their place at the head of the pack.
A razor-sharp script from Tina Fey boasts iconic lines both ridiculously nasty, and at times, sweetly profound. This is complemented by the brilliant delivery from Lohan and ‘the plastics’, who ooze the essential bravado and self-importance to be the schools ‘queen-bees’. As Cady spends more time with ‘the plastics’ they begin to rub off on her, and Lohan does a great of shifting her mannerisms and speech to mirror that of the crews leader Regina George (Rachel McAdams). Amanda Seyfried gives a fabulous comedic performance as the lovably dim Karen Smith, who is perhaps the most innocent member of the gang.
Mean Girls makes fun of the stereotypical teenage ‘types’ that you might find at high school: jocks, nerds, band geeks etc. But with its positive mantra of ‘girls supporting girls’, Mean Girls exposes these cliques without validating them. Cady and her friends, Janis and Damian (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franseze) – who reside very low down in the schools pecking order – may be picking on girls who deserve it, but their actions have consequences, and they get their dues as much as Regina George and her crew of ‘plastics’.
A cultural phenomenon even 15 years on, Mean Girls proves to be as clever and relatable as it did on my first viewing in my own teenage years, and I have no doubt that we will still be seeing ‘burn books’ on shop shelves in 15 years time. It really encapsulates the teenage experience of the 2000s, much like Dazed and Confused does for the 70s, and The Breakfast Club did for the 80s. This film is a message of hope that any bully who may grace your school hallways will get their comeuppance (although hopefully not to the extent of Regina George’s gruesome fate).