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Cinema

Girls Gone Wild.

Ok, Louis Kahn, step aside. It’s time to talk about the law of the jungle, and, let’s face it, you’d last about an hour in the land where the Mean Girls rule the roost. Normally, I probably wouldn’t have seen this flick (although I have had fun exclaiming Mean Girls, Y’all! all week), but what can I say? Nothing else came out, the reviews were decent, and my girlfriend and I had a hankering for a movie. But enough excuses…how did Mean Girls turn out? All in all, not bad, I guess…it’s basically Heathers-lite for the Y2K kids. After trying too hard for the first twenty minutes, I’d say Mean Girls has a pretty funny 45 minutes and a really stilted 45 minutes, which is a decent humor-to-crap ratio given that this is a SNL-alum, Lorne Michaels-produced vehicle.

So, if you’ve seen any teen comedy this side of John Hughes, you can already put all the pieces together here. New girl Lindsey Lohan arrives to new high school (balkanized, of course, into Breakfast Club-type subdivisions, although we now also have groups like “cool Asians” alongside the jocks, nerds, slackers, and wastoids), and has to decide whether she’ll align with the forces of good (misunderstood hipsters) or evil (hot, rich chicks), all before the Inevitable Big Dance. Mean Girls doesn’t skip any of the usual steps, but, for the first hour at least, it moves briskly and remains entertaining enough, even if every character is straight out of High School Central Casting (or Weblog Junior High.)

Unfortunately, right around the halfway point, Mean Girls, Y’all! makes the grievous tactical decision to get all preachy up in here. Ok, no one was ever going to confuse this movie with Welcome to the Dollhouse, but still. Mean Girls could have at least tried to remain as cynical as Heathers in the “Teen Suicide-Don’t Do It” phase. But no, we are instead regaled with trust falls and lectures by Tina Fey’s character on how girls could be nicer to one another (I presume this is due to the non-fiction source material — Queen Bees and Wanna-Bes), and a saccharine-sweet ending that ties up all the loose ends. More problematic, this movie want to have it both ways…it tells its audience not to make fun of fat people or dweebs, all the while making fun of fat people and dweebs. The film can either make us nicer people or play to our mean-spirited instincts…but it can’t do both at the same time. Just like a Mean Girl to tell me one thing and do another. Harrumph…mean girls, y’all.

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