When Mean Girls came out in 2004, it was aimed squarely at teen girls. But I was a grown-up then, and I still loved it.
Screenwriter Tina Fey wasn’t surprised: “Adults find it funny,” she said. “They are the ones who are laughing. Young girls watch it like a reality show. It’s much too close to their real experiences so they are not exactly guffawing.”
To create the film, Fey added a fictionalized storyline to the bestselling advice book Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World. Rosalind Wiseman’s book isn’t light reading (at least not to parents of teen girls, or anyone who’s been one), but Fey manages to conjure a comedy out of the serious subject matter while nailing the Queen Bee dynamic.
Lindsay Lohan turns in her best performance as homeschooled teen Cady Heron, who moves with her parents from Africa to Chicago and enters the caste system known as the American high school, which she describes as “a stressful, surreal blur.”
On the first day of school, Cady eats her sandwich in the bathroom stall so she doesn’t have to deal with the tribal rites of the cafeteria. But everything changes when she’s adopted by the A-list clique known as The Plastics (so called because they look just like Barbies).
Mean Girls has been called a cross between Heathers (which I’ve never seen and never will) and Clueless (which I love), for mixing the darkness of the mean girl dynamic with the brightness of a Jane Austen rom com.
This smart and funny film earns its cult classic status with its long list of quotable quotes, its numerous fan clubs, and its 802 themed items available for sale on Etsy. Even if it didn’t quite make “fetch” happen.
Have you seen Mean Girls? Love it, hate it, or quote it in comments.
***** ***** *****
This is the third post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.