I was surprised by Mean Girls. It looked bad. It was written by Saturday Night Live personnel who as a general rule are better at writing short skits than whole movies. But it was actually a reasonably good movie. Lindsay Lohan plays Cady, a girl who as been home schooled her whole life (her parents are zoologists who lived in Africa) and who starts public school at 15 for the first time. She immediately likens the clique culture of high school to wild animals and finds herself at the bottom tier, though luckily the other bottom rung kids are friendly. She realizes the alpha females are a group called “The Plastics”. These ruthless girls are the epitome of high school shallowness and cruelty. Cady is befriended by the Plastics and encouraged by her outcast friends to infiltrate their group and spy on them. But keeping her ground while pretending to be a Plastic is harder than she originally guesses.
Mean Girls is actually funny and even dark at times. It also is harshly critical of the typical high school mentality. Cady narrates her experiences which gives them (and the movie) more depth. Lindsay Lohan does a very nice job of being the innocent new kid at school and even transitions well into an out of control Plastic. The other Plastics also do a good job.
Even though the ending is slightly cliche (everyone learns a lesson, etc.), this movie works because of the smart dialog and genuine comedy. I ended up enjoying it a lot.