(Mean) Girl Power

Twice in Mean Girls, Lindsey Lohan’s character envisions teenagers as wild animals, fighting, crawling, and howling. That’s her only reference point as a home schooled kid from Africa. Then, Mean Girls takes that further – the school breaks down into a melee after students feed on a book of gossip and lies. African wildlands seem more controlled than this American high school.

Clueless poked this same satire in the ‘90s. Mean Girls though is more a subversive sociology experiment, from the POV of an outsider to any teen culture. The cliques, the music, the parties; that’s all lost on Lohan who spends her first day struggling to identify teachers, never mind identifying pop songs.

The ease of succumbing to vanity begins to weigh on Lohan. What starts as a prank to expose the selfish, fraudulent popular girls soon becomes a norm. She becomes what she set out to expose. Rather than not having a lunch seat, being popular gives her one. Instead of harassment, people idolize her status. Ironic, maybe, given Lohan’s unfortunate personal entanglements to follow; it’s as if she played out her future.

Mean Girls scathingly lampoons teen girls and their ferociousness in seeking social status

Although directed by a male, the script came from Tina Fey, from a source book by Rosalind Wiseman. Mean Girls scathingly lampoons teen girls and their ferociousness in seeking social status. So much of Mean Girls reads like an exaggerated personal diary – whether from Fey or Wiseman, but likely both. Clique The Plastics step to a bedroom mirror, critiquing their legs, hair, lips, and more. In sync, they all turn to Lohan, expectant to hear her own self-loathing. It’s too perfect a scene, comical were it not evident how truthful that fixation is, bred by society.

Of course there’s a focus on dating and the young women fawning (or clawing) for various guys. That’s not all Mean Girls relies on though. Rather, it’s the pressures that social circles demand, and how all of that bubbles up to the surface, interlaced with hormones. Mean Girls turns that recipe into a hallway-confined cataclysm.

It’s a little flabby in the end. Too Hollywood, too clean, too… nice. Cliche as well with a school dance setting and the announcement of a newly crowned king and queen; the winner is never in doubt. Although not giving up on laughs, for a movie so irate toward the expectations of teen girls and how they themselves make everything worse, ending on smiles dulls the bite.

Video

Paramount re-issues Mean Girls to Blu-ray for the 15th anniversary. Going by eye, it doesn’t appear the studio did much of anything to the print before sending these discs for mastering. Some (minor) dirt/dust doesn’t rise above nuisance status, although the resolution never clicks in full. There’s always softness and a need for additional fidelity. Likely, Paramount left the source materials untouched.

Behind a thin grain structure, color jumps, providing a litany of heavy pinks. Saturation pleases, never too much if enough to give Mean Girls a candy-like coating. Flesh tones hold firm with no undue tinkering. Mean Girls released right on the verge of digital color grading, and it appears the post-production tweaks were mild.

Making up for the sharpness loss, contrast and black levels merge gorgeously. Intense brightness shines on the cool girls, giving them a glow. At night as Lohan tries making up with Lizzy Caplan outside, black levels reach marvelous depths, and Caplan’s goth-girl aesthetic isn’t pulled into crush.

Audio

Decent dynamics give power to the soundtrack. A touch of bass accentuates the chosen songs, boomy enough to satisfy in a mix that doesn’t have much else to do.

At school, hallways crowd with activity in the rears. Bells ring in surrounds, ambient chatter filling each channel. Parties likewise utilize the available space, allowing this TrueHD track to fill. Balance keeps dialog intact without loss even in the busiest moments.

Extras

Tina Fey, producer Lorne Michaels, and director Mark Waters provide commentary, this followed by three lengthy featurettes totaling 46-minutes. Together, they form a decent documentary. Same goes for the blooper reel, interstitials, and four deleted scenes (with optional commentary) round this one out. Note that Mean Girls fans will likely have these bonuses on their shelves – it’s all the same as before.

Do note the awesome neon pink case though. That alone is worth the price.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Mean Girls
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Mean Girls stages a sociological experiment via high school and comes away with a hilarious – and sometimes all too real – comedy.

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