Mean Girls (2004)

A review by Shlomoh Sherman
June 10, 2016

Mean Girls (2004)
Director: Mark Waters
Writers: Rosalind Wiseman (book), Tina Fey (screenplay)
Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams, Lizzy Caplan, Amy Poehler, Amanda Seyfried
Plot Synopsis: Raised in the African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady Heron thinks she knows about "survival of the fittest." But the law of the jungle takes on a whole new meaning when the home-schooled 15-year-old enters public high school for the first time.
Plot Keywords: high school - high school girl - bully - clique - secret
Taglines: Taglines: This summer, be part of the in-crowd.
Genres: Comedy
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and some teen partying
Country: USA - Canada
Language: English
Release Date: April 30, 2004 (USA)
Filming Locations: Convocation Hall, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Box Office:
Budget: $17,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $24,432,195 (USA) (30 April 2004)
Gross: $86,049,418 (USA) (3 September 2004)
Company Credits:
Production Co: Paramount Pictures, M.G. Films, Broadway
Technical Specs:
Runtime: 97 minutes
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Color: Color (Technicolor)
Mean Girls (2004) on IMDb:


Initially I had no desire to see this movie because I do not like movies that depict people treating each other in a meanspirited way. I especially don't like to see teenagers treat each others that way. I most especailly don't like to see female teenagers treat each other that way because my daughter was once a teenager. And in this current age of teen bullying, the way high school teens are stereotypicically portrayed turns me off.

So, what led me to watch it?

Several omnths ago, I had a discussion with my daughter about high school movies. I had just seen a movie called THE DUFF on TV and I enjoyed it because, not only was it an interesting story but because the nature of the mean treatment was more comical than nasty. I said that although I don't like high school movies unless they are of the quality of CLUELESS, I thought THE DUFF was funny. At this point, my daughter said that I ought to see MEAN GIRLS.

Well time passed and I saw that Mean Girls was playing on a local channel so I recorded it. When I began to watch it, a message came on screen that the movie was formatted for my TV screen and edited for content.

Edited for content? AS IF!

So I went to the trusty Internet and got an actual unedited version.

What a pleasant surprise. Yes, the girls in North Shore High School are mean alright but in such a funny, even slef-deprecating, way that you just relax and spend the next hour and a half laughing at and comiserating with all of them.

In his own review, TOMASBBloodhound (Omaha, NE USA) has this to say:
The unthinkable: A good film in this day and age about high school. Though my own high school days are well behind me now, this film received enough acclaim that I was convinced to give it a try. Mean Girls did in fact prove to be a rewarding experience. The film made a ton of money and launched some of its young stars into orbit.

He also said: Too bad I never had any math teachers as pretty as Tina Fey!

Mean Girls has an astonishing cast of actresses, many of whom I really like, but at a much younger age than I am used to seeing them.

The basic story concerns a young girl's enterance into the world of public high school, after having been home schooled all her life, and that world's corrupting effect on her.

Wikipedia [] sets out the plot simply.

"Sixteen-year-old homeschooled Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) and her zoologist parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn) return to the United States after a research trip in Africa, settling down in Evanston, Illinois and enrolling Cady at North Shore High School."

Yes, there are of course sub-plots but they merge very well into the story of Cady's integration with the most popular girl-group, THE PLASTICS.

All four girls play their roles broadly and obviously tongue-in-cheek.

KUDOS to Rachel McAdams as the truly mean Regina George, leader of the pack. I most remember her for her roles in The Time Traveler's Wife, the Notebook, and Red Eye.

KUDOS to Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith, Regina's nemesis. This lady has been one of my all time fav actresses whom I have loved and admired since seeing her in Mamma Mia, Jennifer's Body and Red Riding Hood. She has the most hauntngly sensuous eyes I have ever seen on a woman. The correct pronunciation of her last name is "Sigh-Frid".

KUDOS to Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Wieners, the hapless Jewish member of the PLASTICS, stuck between reporting the backhanded meanness of Regina to the other 2 members of the group and reporting their backhanded meanness to her.
I don't remember seeing Lacey before but IMDB shows in her filmography, she has done several sci-fi and horror movies.

KUDOS to Lindsay Lohan as the previously home schooled Cady Heron, back in Evanston, Illinois after years in Africa. My God! Lindsay Lohan was incredibly beautiful as a younger actress. Her eyes draw you in. Her performance as the new girl who ultimately out-means all the others is brilliant. It makes me sad when I think of what became of her as she got older. On her downward spiral, Lindsay has been arrested for jewelry theft, drug addiction, and reckless driving, just to mention a few.

KUDOS to Tim Meadows as the Mr. Duvall, the school principal. Tim is best remembered for his years as a regular cast memeber on Saturday Night Live. His portrayal as republican candidate Ben Carson on the Triumph the Insult Dog Show was hilarious.

KUDOS to Amy Poehler as Mrs. George, Regina's mother, is absolutely camp. Amy was also a regular cast memeber on Saturday Night Live. I have always thought that Amy is extremely hot!

KUDOS to Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury, the girls' math teacher and script writer for the film. Also a regular cast memeber on Saturday Night Live, I have never been attracted to her performances, even as Sarah Palin. She is however, as the film shows, a very talented actress and comedienne.

KUDOS to Lizzy Caplan as Janis Ian, Cady's off-aagin, on-again friend. It took me several minutes of her on screen appearence to relaize that this is the beautiful Lizzy of MASTERS OF SEX fame. She is so young in the movie and so unlike Virgina Johnson that I could not spot her right away.

Mean Girls is a very entertaining movie. It will make you laugh and it just may bring you back to your own high school days if you have ever had to put up with the antics of your own school's mean girls. The transition of Cady Heron from innocent new student to ultra mean girl and then to a wiser co-ed is well scripted by Fey and well acted by Lohan.

Did You Know?:

There is a diploma from DePaul University in Mr. Duvall's office.
In the scene where Cady was asked if her "muffin was buttered", the line was originally going to be, "Is your cherry popped?" The same goes for the girl who "made out with a hot dog" this was going to be "masturbated with a hot dog". These were omitted in order for the film to gain a PG 13+ rating instead of a R.
Initially, Lindsay Lohan was cast as Regina, but decided to play the "nice girl" so the public wouldn't base her real personality on Regina's. Rachel McAdams was chosen to play the "mean girl" because "only nice girls can play mean girls" according to the producer.
Amy Poehler who plays Mrs. George is only seven years older than her on screen daughter Rachel McAdams (Regina George).
Producer Tina Fey confessed that, when casting the film, she liked Jonathan Bennett (Aaron Samuels) because "he looked like Jimmy Fallon".
Tim Meadows broke his hand before shooting and had to wear a cast, so the explanation that his character Mr. Duvall had carpal tunnel was added.
Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams play characters who attend the same school and are in the same grade, despite the 8 year age difference between the two actresses, Lindsay Lohan being younger than Rachel McAdams.
The scene in which Cady walks in on Jason and Gretchen kissing at her party is much different in the first draft of the script. Originally, she walks in on Gretchen performing oral sex on Jason (no nudity, nothing graphic), but this was subsequently cut from the final print in order to achieve a PG-13 rating.
Feature film debut for Amanda Seyfried, who portrays Karen Smith.
Lacey Chabert was the first and only choice for the role of Gretchen.
Amanda Seyfried, who plays Karen in the film, was initially supposed to play Cady, but producer Lorne Michaels thought she would be better as the "dumb girl".
The skirts for the Christmas talent show are made of plastic; the costume designer says they were made of that fabric to "represent the Plastics".
James Franco was considered for the role of Aaron Samuels, which was eventually given to Jonathan Bennett.
Scarlett Johansson tested for the role of Karen.
Lizzy Caplan's character was named Janis Ian as an homage to musician Janis Ian, the first Saturday Night Live (1975) musical guest (alongside Billy Preston). Ian's song "At Seventeen" can be heard playing in the background when the girls are fighting at Regina's house. Other characters bullying Caplan's character persistently call her a lesbian throughout the movie; the real Janis Ian is an out lesbian.
Nearly earned an R rating for explicit, risqué gags and jokes which were subsequently cut.
Although Tina Fey and Amy Poehler never speak together in the movie, in reality they are best friends.
To film one scene, Mrs. George, played by Amy Poehler, pinned a piece of cocktail wiener into her bra to encourage the chihuahua dog to nibble there.
In 2013, Tina Fey stated that she and husband Jeff Richmond had been working on a 'Mean Girl' stage production. As of 2016 Fey confirmed that the musical is set to debut for the 15th anniversary of the film in 2019.
The movie is based off a real high school, New Trier, which is located in Winnetka, Illinois, and is part of the North Shore (north/northwest suburbs of Chicago) and covers a large area of affluent students from five different townships and villages. New Trier, despite the portrayal of mean girl clicks, is actually noted as one of the best high schools in the United States.
Regina, Karen, and Gretchen never once refer or call themselves "The Plastics."

In the behind the scenes footage, the actor that plays the principal Mr Duvall says his character doesn't have a first name, that he just always goes by Mr Duvall. But in the scene where Cady, Gretchen, and Karen are in the principal's office for the Burn Book, one of the teachers comes in and says, "Ron come quick! The girls have gone wild!". Therefore, he does have a name - it's Ron. There is also a nameplate on his desk that reads "Ron Duvall".
The senior artist credit is misspelled "SENIOR ARTITST".
When Mrs. Norbury sits down at the piano to play the rest of "Jingle Bell Rock", we hear her play before her fingers would be hitting the keys.
When it is announced that Cady is nominated for spring fling queen, applause is heard in the background, but clearly no one in her homeroom is clapping.
After the bell rings, Ms. Norbury says, "Lights please. Okay see you guys tomorrow," but her lips don't move.
The two Asian girls who fight speak Vietnamese to each other (with an American accent - both actresses are Vietnamese Americans) in the gym scene, but when Gretchen is their friend at the end, Chinese is being spoken. Also, Pak is a Korean name, not Vietnamese or Chinese.
When the science teacher denies Cady a lavatory pass, the blackboard behind him incorrectly lists "silicone" among a list of elements from the periodic table. The correct element should be silicon, not silicone.
The black and white vase Cady's mom calls her "Ndebele fertility vase" is not typical of Ndebele art. The Ndebele people make fertility dolls, not fertility pots.
After the Junior girls start freaking out and beating each other up over the Burn Book, the principal stops them by pulling a fire alarm and setting off the sprinklers, which drenches everyone. Then he orders them all to the gym immediately. When they get there, everyone is dry.
When Cady breaks her Spring Fling crown to give to the crowd she breaks a half off. There couldn't possibly be enough crown left for her to give the size pieces she gave. There was too little left. [Even I noticed that.]
When Cady enters her homeroom for the first time, Ms. Norbury is wearing brown pants. After Cady bumps into her and helps her pick up the mess, she is wearing black pants.
After giving her speech on stage at the prom, when Cady leaves the stage you can see a quick glimpse of the crown, which was broken into pieces before, on top of her head.
When Cady scares Damian and Janis with her Halloween costume we see them spill their entire bowl of popcorn out of surprise but in the next scene the bowl is full again.
When Cady and The Plastics are at the mall, you can see a booth for Bell Mobility in the background. Bell Mobility is a Canadian cell phone company that doesn't serve the US.

Chip Heron: This is your lunch, OK? I put a dollar in there so you can buy some milk; you can ask one of the big kids where to do that. <BR>
Betsy Heron: Do you remember your phone number? I wrote it down for you just in case. Put it in your pocket, I don't want you to lose it. OK? You ready? <BR>
Cady: I think so.
Karen: If you're from Africa, why are you white?
Gretchen: Oh my God, Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white.
Cady: [narrating] Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.
Student: Nice wig, Janis. What's it made of?
Janis: Your mom's chest hair!
Cady: You know I couldn't invite you. I had to pretend to be plastic.
Janis: Hey, buddy, you're not pretending anymore. You're plastic. Cold, shiny, hard plastic.
Cady: You know what? You're the one who made me like this so you could use me for your 8th grade revenge!
Janis: God! See, at least me and Regina George know we're mean! You try to act so innocent like, "Oh, I use to live in Africa with all the little birdies, and the little monkeys!"
Janis: See? That's the thing with you plastics. You think everybody is in love with you when actually, everybody HATES you! Like, Aaron Samuels, for example, he broke up with Regina and guess what? He still doesn't want you! So why are you still messing with Regina, Cady? I'll tell you why, because you are a mean girl! You're a bitch!
Gretchen: That is so fetch!
Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It's not going to happen!
Mr. Duvall: Her name is Cady. Cady Heron. Where are you, Cady?
Cady: That's me. It's pronounced like Katie.
Mr. Duvall: My apologies. I have a nephew named Anfernee, and I know how mad he gets when I call him Anthony. Almost as mad as I get when I think about the fact that my sister named him Anfernee.
hip Heron: Hey, how was school?
Cady: Fine.
Betsy Heron: Were people nice?
Cady: No.
Chip Heron: Did you make any friends?
Cady: Yes.
Gretchen: Why should Caesar just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar, right? Brutus is just as smart as Caesar, people totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar, and when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody because that's not what Rome is about! We should totally just STAB CAESAR!

Oh Yeah Written, Performed, and Produced by Gabriel Rene
Overdrive by Katy Rose and Kim Bullard Performed by Katy Rose
Rip Her to Shreds by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein Performed by Boomkat
Produced by Kellin Manning and Martin Pradler
Love's Theme by Barry White Performed by Love Unlimited Orchestra Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Built This Way by Dallas Austin and Samantha Ronson Performed by Samantha Ronson Courtesy of Roc-a-Fella Records, L.L.C. Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Milkshake by Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams Performed by Kelis Courtesy of Arista Records, Inc. Under license from BMG Film & TV Music
Hated by Jeff Richmond Performed by Brittney Cleary (as Nikki Cleary)
Produced by Jeff Richmond and Katreese Barnes Vocal produced by KNS Productions
One Way or Another by Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison Performed by Blondie Courtesy of Chrysalis Records Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
The Mathlete Rap Lyric by Tina Fey Music by Gabriel Rene Produced by Gabriel Rene Performed by Rajiv Surendra
At Seventeen Written and Performed by Janis Ian Courtesy of Columbia Records By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing and Courtesy of Rude Girl Records
Mean Gurl Written and Produced by Gabriel Rene Performed by Gina Rene and Gabriel Rene
God Is a DJ by Pink (as Alecia Moore), Billy Mann, and Jonathan S. Davis Performed by Pink Courtesy of Arista Records, Inc. Under license from BMG Film & Television Music
Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol and Tony James Performed by The Donnas Produced by Robert Shimp The Donnas perform courtesy of Atlantic Records

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the song playing when the Plastics are walking in the hallway just before Cady falls into the trash can?
Q: Is there going to be a sequel?
Q: What is the song playing at Cady's house party?

Message Boards:
Recent Posts
Is Gretchen supposed to be ugly? - hayessophie1
The False Confession - Vivian95
Mean Girls vs. Heathers - shaye22
Which girl is the hottest? - deadlyjaws
This movie is such a damn classic - CuseIsLoose
She doesn't even go here! - TheDarkRooms

Discuss Mean Girls (2004) on the IMDb message boards

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lindsay Lohan ... Cady Heron
Rachel McAdams ... Regina George
Tina Fey ... Ms. Norbury
Tim Meadows ... Mr. Duvall
Amy Poehler ... Mrs. George
Ana Gasteyer ... Cady's Mom
Lacey Chabert ... Gretchen Wieners
Lizzy Caplan ... Janis Ian
Daniel Franzese ... Damian
Neil Flynn ... Cady's Dad
Jonathan Bennett ... Aaron Samuels
Amanda Seyfried ... Karen Smith
Rajiv Surendra ... Kevin Gnapoor
Elana Shilling ... Spelling Girl
Graham Kartna .. Homeschooled Boy

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