Tue Mar 29 2005

Mean Girls was actually a much better film than I was expecting – I’d heard all about Lindsay Lohen in the press, but she absolutely nailed her part in that film. Her descent from innocent self-giving all-round lovely person to ‘mean girl’ was played to perfection. A lot of this is of course down to script, make-up, costume, and direction, but she wonderfully underplays the changes in mannerism with the increasingly rare flashes of self-awareness of what she was becoming. I guess she is very sympathetic as an actress – you can tell what she is feeling and going through, and are drawn into caring about her.
The basic premise is that Lindsay Lohan plays Cady, a girl who was brought up in Africa by her zoologist parents, and they move back to American when Cady is 15, and she starts at an all-American High School for the very first time.
I found that film managed to be ironic without any of the characters actually being so, and at times it was quite poignant. Strangely perhaps it’s a fairly dark film, but liberal doses of saccharine and comedy keep it light without making it unbearably sweet. Cady’s dad is particularly good as a counterpoint to some of the heavier themes – after grounding her, she goes out to something or other, and when challenge by his wife says
“Does grounded mean they’re not allowed to go out?”.
Maybe you had to be there.
Thankfully the producers also managed to resist the temptation of having teenage girlies jumping on their beds in knickers and bras (or worse gratutious changing room scenes) which seems to be almost obligatory these days. The same producers unfortunately couldn’t resist playing (almost all) the adults as wooden caricatures (see dad), but I guess it is Disney…
That said, the cast were, as a whole, pretty good – but there’s no doubt in my mind it was Lindsay Lohan who carried the film and made it work for me. So much so that I would seriously now consider watching Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
This film is not going to win any oscars, and is unlikely to change your life – but it just might give you a pause for thought, and it certainly provided me with some light family friendly entertainment one Thursday evening. Well worth checking out, especially if you have a teenage daughter yourself.