Monday, 25 July 2011

100 days, 100 films; Day 39 - Mean Girls

#62 - Mean Girls:

As I come close to clocking 40 days of the challenge, I slightly hesitate as I go for a film that has way too much pink on the DVD cover and I realise that this is the second time in two days I’ve gone for a teen movie. Since I saw this when I was thirteen, I guess you could say that this was my first teen film. These were the days when Lindsay Lohan was that cute little girl from The Parent Trap and my had she grown up. Funnily enough the producers were reluctant to cast her in this film because she was considered a family friendly teen actress at the time. Oh how times have changed, eh?

Lindsay (pre-meltdown) plays Cady Heron, a sixteen-year-old girl who has spent most of her life living in Africa (no Lindsay is not in black face or else that would be a completely different movie) but is now starting at an American high school for the first time. At first it goes alright and she makes friends with two artistic students Janis and Damian but then she is invited to be friends with the popular girls Karen, Gretchen and Regina, the supposed “Queen Bee” of the school. Regina seems to be a nice enough girl until she reveals her true colours when going after a boy Cady likes. Janis and Damian convince Cady to get the ultimate revenge – destroy Regina’s position as the Queen Bee. The goals – make Regina’s boyfriend break up with her, ruin her supermodel figure and get her two friends to leave her.

Thankfully I was already in high school when I saw this film as I would have been completely terrified if I had to use this as a reference. Considering it was about girls and had “Girls” in the title, I kept quiet about liking this film until one day when I heard a group of chavs talking about how cool the film was so then I realised it was okay to like it. Teen movies generally are a guilty pleasure for some but it seems this film is universally liked by my generation, and I personally recognise it as Lindsay Lohan’s last great film (not that The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday were classics, but you know). It’s pretty cool the way it paints high school as a big world of politics, slightly exaggerating the cliques and social circles to make the whole thing serious business. Watching it now that high school is over, it’s kind of funny and a little embarrassing to think that me and the rest of my friends used to treat a few of the things that go on in this film as serious business, though thankfully as guys we never had anyone plotting against us. As far as we know anyway...

Lindsay plays a pretty fun character; it shows that we do take a lot of rules and guidelines of the world of high school for granted that we have to realise that Cady didn’t grow up with countless teen sitcoms or movies to get references from so it’s a little cringe-worthy to see her make the rookie mistakes on her first day. It’s a shame Lindsay went off the rails because she showed some genuine talent as a comedic actress though I guess there’s always hope for the future. Now as for the rest of the cast (who as far as I’m aware haven’t become walking catastrophes) we have Rachel McAdams as Regina George which is a little weird to watch her in now since I’ve seen her play nicer characters in most of her other films such as Red Eye, Wedding Crashers etc though this was the first film I saw her in. Rachel is perfect as the bitch in sheep’s clothing and she looks pretty hot as a blonde and in the apparent fat-suit she wears in the last part of the film. We have Lacey Chabert aka little Claudia Salinger playing the one-small-step-away-from-a-nervous-breakdown Gretchen and she nearly steals the show with how funny she is. Amanda Seyfriend plays Karen, the resident Dumb Blonde who has magic breasts that can tell when it’s raining. It’s a shock to see her in other films because I’m so used to her as a ditz. 

Tina Fey (who wrote the screenplay) is pretty entertaining as Cady’s Math teacher. She even reminds me of one of my teachers. The rest of the cast are pretty entertaining as well with Lizzy Kaplan hiding under a lot of Goth makeup and baggy clothes, Daniel De Santo making pervy jokes and Neil Flynn playing someone normal.

I like the main message of the film which proves that even if a film is a comedy, it can still give an important life lesson. While Cady may have been justified to mess with Regina’s life at first, we can pinpoint the moments in the film where we feel she has gone too far and we actually start to feel sorry for Regina. True we were rooting for Cady from the start but Regina getting dumped and unknowingly eating a nutrition bar that makes her gain weight like crazy does start to feel a little awkward coming from our supposed heroine of the story. I like how things are subtly done with Cady’s appearance like how at the start of the film she seems like a bit of a tomboy and as she gets accepted into The Plastics she slowly starts wearing more makeup and girlier clothes so that we realise she’s gone into the deep end and is slowly becoming a clone of Regina. I guess it is a little sad now knowing what Lindsay Lohan has gone through to watch this plot, seeing as how it’s about a good girl getting corrupted by the evils of high school politics.

There’s almost too many scenes to name in this film but I do enjoy the Christmas talent show which is full of a lot of lol-worthy moments such as Damian trying to perform Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and resident nerd Kevin G performing a very family unfriendly freestyle rap. Then there’s the four girls doing their dance to “Jingle Bell Rock” and you will almost feel guilty getting turned on by it when you realise these are supposed to be high school girls. And my sides genuinely hurt when Gretchen kicked the CD player into Jason’s face, not to mention when Regina’s mother starts dancing along in the aisle. And if you’re a big fan of chaos, then the scene where Regina photocopies pages from the girls’ “Burn Book” where they write their opinions of the other girls, and throws them around the school will most certainly be entertaining. The girls don’t take things that well and a mass catfight breaks out with the boys looking on with glee. Then there’s the whole montage of Cady, Janis and Damian trying to get Regina’s boyfriend to catch him cheating on her, which includes Damian pretending to mug Cady in front of him. 

So another day down and another teen movie down. Tomorrow I clock forty days in the challenge and I’ll be travelling a bit farther back to my roots when I was a kid. I’ll leave you to ponder that statement while I try to think up a witty outro that has something to do with this film. Oh well, everyone is entitled to an off day right? How high schoolers take care and at least you have a nice reference point about how to get revenge on the popular kids. And hopefully one day you’ll learn which is better – word vomit or actual vomit. Take care, Bobby-verse and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

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