Monday, May 6, 2013

Mean Girls [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

I never went to a huge public high-school. Both schools I ended up going to, and graduating from, were very small and medium sized private schools. Our family was never rich, don't get me wrong, I just never went to a big public school like the one featured in Mean Girls. I never had the interest of seeing this growing up. I probably always wrote it of as a "girly movie" or something I'm sure. But now I'm a completely normal and well adjusted 22-year old male, and after the urges of a couple friends, I finally got around to this. I love Tina Fey, and this was well before Lindsay Lohan when on her first coke binge, so I held out some hope for this. I wasn't disappointed, but this was just not my cup of tea.

Mean Girls follows the story of Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) as she goes to high school for the first time. Cady's parents, Betsy and Chip (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn), are zoologists and they spent the last 12 years doing research in Africa. Luckily on the first day Cady meets Janis and Damien (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese). They teach Cady the ins and out of the high-school, including all various cliques, and there is a ton of them. They single out one group in particular, The Plastics. This trio of girls, the insecure one, Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), the rich, but ditzy one, Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) and their leader, The Queen Bee, Regina George (Rachel McAdams), run the school. When The Plastics take an interest in Cady, Janis hatches a plan to destroy them from the inside out. After being accepted into the group Cady is shown something called "The Burn Book". This is the ultimate book owned by Regina that keeps the rumors, secrets, gossip from all the girls and teachers in the school. Not long after, Cady falls for Aaron Samuels (Johnathan Bennett), Regina's ex-boyfriend, which causes Regina to steal him from her. This prompts Cady to decide to continue on with Janis' plan. But instead of destroying The Plastics, she may be destroying her name and alienating herself from the entire school.

My biggest problem with Mean Girls is that I find almost no way to relate with a lot of the stuff going on. Sure, in movies you're supposed to experience things as the characters do. But, with some movies you kinda need to have some sort of connection with at least something in there for it to hit you. This does in no way make it bad per se, but for me it really does downgrade my liking of it by whole lot. Once I stopped caring about the petty gossip or the unnecessary drama, this movie doesn't have a lot to hold it up. One liners, even though there were a lot of great ones, and decent performances by Lohan, Caplan and McAdams, aren't enough to hold up this movie. I just named almost the full main cast there, and if the main cast aren't getting the job done for me, you can bet the supporting roles, the great Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, won't be able to pick up the slack. Speaking of acting, while I went into this not expecting The Godfather-like performances, everyone came off as ho-hum. Lindsay Lohan was perfectly fine as the lead, Lizzy Caplan had a great supporting role, Rachel McAdams was great as the antagonist, with Fey and Meadows getting some good moments. Everyone else seemed disconnected to me though. Amanda Seyfried does not have acting chops in the slightest. While her stupidity, in character, was cute for awhile, you can't believe someone is that moronic. While Lacey Chabert, was forgettable. Hell, I didn't even know who she was since hasn't done anything worthwhile, outside of voice acting, since this film.

Just because the acting is sub-par and I didn't connect with a lot of the movie doesn't mean everything was bad. There was a lot of good humor in this. From one liners, to observational humor, Tina Fey is great at bringing out the funny in anything. As evidenced by her writing for SNL for nine years and 30 Rock for seven years. Fey is no slouch and everyone in this movie was written very well. Whether they did all they could with the role, Tina wrote it what anyone plugged into the hole, so to speak, could bring the humor out. The writing was top notch as well, as you can probably tell by these past few sentences. While the story is very "teenage", it was still a good one that's better than most teen dramas on TV or in the movies today. Engaging characters, a good lead and a great bad guy. When they aren't on the screen the support and story is good enough to make this a hit for both adults and teens. The adults laugh at the stupidity of some of the characters and the humor, while teens are engaged by the drama aspect of it all. Not many tweener movies get this balance right. They try too hard with its humor or goes too far with the drama content. I do wanna single out a few people for their acting. Lindsay Lohan is great in a leading role, at least she was ten years ago. She personified the shy girl trying to fit in. From gaining the acceptance of her first two friends, to generally being apprehensive whenever she was with The Plastics. Lohan played Cady flawlessly. McAdams on the other side of the coin was a great villain. She played the popular high school girl, that would ruin anyone's lives on the turn of a dime very well.  Pretty, popular and peccancy, McAdams personified Regina George. Finally the best supporting role goes to Lizzy Caplan, well at least before Lizzy got "big". She played the conflicted, to an extent, friend of Cady to a fault. While also wanting to destroy her self proclaimed enemy. She is the anti Cady that Cady needed in the film. The acting, writing and humor was all solid, which kept me watching.

Mean Girls has a lot of good, but for me personally a lot of bad. I had no connection to much in this film and the lazy acting by a lot of the people on screen really hurts this. This is still a greatly written movie, and all credit goes to Tina Fey there. The humor is solid throughout, yet repetitive. Despite the lacking acting, Lohan, McAdams and Caplan are pretty good, with Fey and Meadows providing great moments as well. This is a very like or hate it movie. Especially if you liked it growing up. At best for me though it was only okay, but this is still one of the better teen drama's you'll ever see. At the very least we can be comforted that "fetch" will never happen.

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