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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Mean Girls (15th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)
Mean Girls (15th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)
Paramount // PG-13 // June 11, 2019 // Region A
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted October 10, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Fifteen years later, Mean Girls is still pretty fetch. Directed by Mark Waters (Bad Santa 2), produced by Lorne Michaels ("Saturday Night Live") and written by Tina Fey (Sisters), the film is based on Rosalind Wiseman's 2002 novel "Queen Bees and Wannabes." A pre-drugs and booze Lindsay Lohan stars as Cady Heron, a sixteen-year-old girl who transfers to an Illinois high school after being homeschooled by her parents in Africa for years. She befriends a goth artistic, Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan), and her gay best friend, Damian Leigh (Daniel Franzese), but is also noticed and included by popular Regina George (Rachel McAdams) and her clique of "Plastics," Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert) and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried). I guess you can call this the Heathers of 2004, and Mean Girls remains a witty, entertaining and occasionally earnest look at some pretty awful, pretty normal teenagers.

Cady meets Janis and Damian on her second day at school and learns that Gretchen is pretty much the worst. The pair lays out all the pertinent information Cady needs to know about the high school's cliques, including who to steer clear of and who gets a pass. When Regina and the Plastics unexpectedly invite Cady to eat lunch with them, Janis tells her she has to do it and report back with all the gossip. Turns out Regina and company authored and constantly update "The Burn Book," a journal of sorts that includes all the gossip, rumors and secrets they know about their classmates and teachers. As Cady navigates the tricky girl waters of high school, she falls for Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett), Regina's ex-boyfriend, and plays dumb in Ms. Norbury's (Fey) math class so Samuels will tutor her. Regina begins feuding with Gretchen over boys and her queen bee status, and Cady is thrust into the middle of their bickering. Regina is not pleased when she learns Cady and Aaron are flirting, and soon begins making moves to win back her old flame.

I have not read the source material for Mean Girls, but I do know one of its greatest assets is Fey's adaptive script. Although the comedic talent has not found the same success when starring in movie projects, Fey kills it behind the scenes. Mean Girls is just a funny movie, and it is one that appeals to both men and women of all ages. Although some scenes, like a wild hallway brawl and a choreographed talent show dance number, are over the top, the teenagers in the film are not too far off base from normal high school students. People are terrible to each other in these formative years, and Mean Girls offers effective social commentary on friendship, bullying, success and loyalty. Cady, of course, ends up getting blamed for the pain caused when the Burn Book is released by Regina, and she owns up to her wrongdoing. For a light comedy, Mean Girls also does a good job exploring some of the teenage angst most of us remember.

The acting is good here across the board, particularly Lohan who, at that point in her life at least, is believable as a naive fish out of water. McAdams, Chabert and Seyfried are also effective in their humorous roles, and Fey brings plenty of dry wit as the exasperated teacher accused of "pushing drugs" in the Burn Book. Waters keeps the pacing quick and narrative in forward motion, and Mean Girls certainly feels like a quick 97 minutes. It does not seem real that fifteen years has passed since the initial theatrical release, and the film really holds up. I never noticed it at the time, but Waters and his crew avoided using easily dated technology throughout the film. That means Mean Girls feels rather timeless. In an ocean of teen comedies and high school dramas, Mean Girls has the wit and pedigree to stand taller than the rest.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Paramount recycles its 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image from the original 2009 Blu-ray release (it recycles the entire disc). This is a decent, average-looking transfer with appropriate detail, bold primary colors, natural highlights and moderate depth. There is some minor noise and edge haloing, but the film looks overall good in motion, with solid blacks and reasonable clarity.

SOUND:

The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix supports the dialogue-heavy comedy appropriately. Light ambience and action effects move to the surrounds where appropriate, and the soundtrack is nicely integrated. French and Spanish 5.1 dubs are included, as are English SDH, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

The disc arrives in a pink Blu-ray case with a promotional insert for the stage play. I hesitate to call this a "15th Anniversary Edition," as there is no new content. Extras include a Commentary by Director Mark Waters, Writer and Actress Tina Fey and Producer Lorne Michaels; Only the Strong Survive (24:52/SD), about the teenage characters; The Politics of Girl World (10:33/SD), about the themes; Plastic Fashion (10:25/SD); Word Vomit (5:44/SD); So Fetch: Deleted Scenes (7:01/SD); Interstitials (1:39/SD); and the Trailer (2:35/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Fifteen years after its theatrical release, Mean Girls holds up as a witty, entertaining comedy about the politics of high school and teenage girls. Buoyed by a young Lindsay Lohan and Tina Fey's writing, the film just works. This Blu-ray re-release is Recommended if you do not already own the movie, as it recycles the same disc from the 2009 release.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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