Mean Girls: 15th Anniversary Edition showed up at my door yesterday. Starring Lindsay Lohan, it’s considered by many to be the best film of her career to date. Subsequent personal problems and brushes with the law have made her a tabloid fixture and a rare sight on the big screen in recent years. Based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, Mean Girls was written by Tina Fey, who also co-stars in the film. Director Mark Waters had worked with Lindsay Lohan the year before on Freaky Friday.
Cady Heron (Lohan) has spent most of her life in the African Bush, being homeschooled by her zoologist parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn). When her parents move to Illinois so her mother can take a job, it is decided that Cady will attend public school for the first time. Cady is completely unprepared for her first day at North Shore High School. Virtually no one pays attention to her and she feels like a total outcast. She is finally befriended by two of the school’s biggest outcasts, Janis (Lizzy Caplan), a wannabe goth and alleged lesbian, and Damian (Daniel Franzese), Janis’ flaming gay best friend. Janis and Damian teach Cady about the school’s various cliques, including the Plastics, an exclusive group of girls led by queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams, Disobedience), who was once Janis’ best friend. When Regina invites Cady to sit with her and the other two Plastics, gossipy Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert) and dimwitted Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried, Lovelace), at lunch, Janis and Damien see an opportunity to get even and convince Cady to infiltrate the Plastics so she can spy on them. The Plastics are rich, snobbish girls with non-existent IQ’s. While Janice convinces Cady to spy on the Plastics, the Plastics are intrigued by this new girl from Africa and see her as their own personal project and set out to give her a makeover.
Now a Plastics insider, Cady makes the mistake of falling for fellow classmate Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), who happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Regina. Since going out with a former boyfriend of another Plastic is a mortal sin, a jealous and vindictive Regina has a plan. Even though Regina offers to act as a go-between to get Aaron and Cady together, her real intention is to win Aaron back. Once Cady realizes she’s been double crossed, she puts her own plan in motion to get back at the “queen bee.” Cady starts sabotaging the Plastics from within with a series of mean-spirited pranks and by dividing and conquering when she gets the girls to turn on each other. In the process, Cady has become someone she never wanted be.
I’ve always enjoyed this film. Tina Fey wrote a smart, intelligent and funny script. Several scenes between the girls are the basic high school life I remember: The importance of being popular and the basic desire to fit in. Near the end, Mean Girls falls into that typical teenage comedy with the inevitable moral. That small gripe aside, Mean Girls remains a winner.
Aside from a new pink case, this appears to be the same Blu-ray as the previous release in every way. Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Paramount’s 1080p transfer offers adequate levels of detail. Whether it’s the expensive clothes worn by the girls, facial details and textures, or the many objects scattered about classrooms, cafeterias, or bedrooms, viewers will find plenty of information to absorb. The transfer sees some heavy noise over the open but is otherwise mostly clear and pleasant. Flesh tones are slightly reddish in appearance and blacks are stable and inky. Mean Girls looks fine, but it’s nothing eye-popping. I would have preferred a full remaster or 4K, to a repackaging.
Mean Girls’ Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack is a front-heavy and completely generic mix. The film is primarily dialogue-driven and features only the occasional burst of sound, generally coming from the film’s pop-rock soundtrack. The music is clear and loud, flowing from the front channels with the support of the subwoofer on several occasions. A party sequence in chapter twelve is about as active and immersive as this one gets, with the soundstage filled nicely with the loud music. Dialogue reproduction is uniformly strong. Mean Girls reproduces all it has to offer with satisfactory results.
English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary: Director Mark Waters, screenwriter/star Tiny Fey, and producer Lorne Michaels all try to be heard on this group chat. It’s non-stop and all-over-the-place. Most are stories of set shenanigans and casting notes.
- Only the Strong Survive (SD, 24:52) This featurette is a bit better than the average EPK. Cast and crew, including Waters, Fey, Lindsay Lohan, most of the teen girl cast and author Wiseman, talk about tackling the adaptation of a book that was somewhat formless. There is also much on the casting, with just about every major character touched upon.
- The Politics of Girl World (SD, 10:33) Wiseman talks rather seriously about the social issues that fueled her book, and if Mean Girls is certainly a comedy, the acidic teen trials and tribulations at its core are no laughing matter.
- Plastic Fashion (SD, 10:25) A peek at costuming in the film.
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 7:01) Nine scenes with optional commentary with Mark Waters and Tina Fey.
- Word Vomit/Gag Reel (SD, 5:44)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:35)
Mean Girls (2004)
Movie title: Mean Girls
Director(s): Mark Waters
Actor(s): Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler , Ana Gasteyer
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Teen, Coming of Age