After directing her in Freaky Friday, Mark S Waters liked her so much he's come back for second helpings. Who's her? Her is Lindsay Lohan, the box office wonder, who sprang from nowhere to capture the highly lucrative prize of teen Hollywood.

We've had Heathers, Clueless, Dazed And Confused, Elephant and countless other lesser additions to the high school angst genre. In Mean Girls, Lohan plays Cady, a girl whose zoologist parents have recently vacated Africa for the States. With Cady's diverse upbringing comes her worldly wise and tolerant personality, qualities alien amongst America's teens.

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Fitting in is a tough business and being home-schooled in Africa isn't the ideal start, when the only thing that matters is being cool. Unless, of course, you are Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan), or Damian (Daniel Franzese), lesbian and gay outcasts, who couldn't give a gee whiz for The Plastics, the dumb blonde popular chicks, and carve their lowly positions in the cool hierarchy by defying everything mainstream.

Befriending Cady, Janis and Damian introduce her to the school power structure. Presumably sick of being down at the bottom, they devise a master PR plan to infiltrate The Plastics, headed by queen bitch Regina George (Rachel McAdams). Cady insinuates her way under the skins of Regina and Co and furtively reports back all the high school secrets to Janis and Damian. Trouble is the power thing goes to Cady's head and she ends up a Plastic herself, in need of a reverse personality transplant.

As with Clueless, the in-girls have a strict code of rules that cannot be broken. This includes, no dating of ex-boyfriends, no duplicating shoes, tops or trousers and no farting, slurping, burping or human behaviour in public. When Cady violates the first rule and dates Regina's ex and high school pinup Aaron (Jonathan Bennett), all hell breaks loose, with top of the rung cat-and-mouse scheming and backstabbing, of which Machiavelli himself would have been proud.

Matters come to a head when The Plastics' scrapbook of every hidden secret at school is laid bare for all to see.

There are some funny moments along the way and Lohan is again good, although not as good as in Freaky Friday. But then this film isn't in the same league as Freaky Friday, but for young teens, the light heartedness of a thoroughly identifiable story will be enough to tickle their fancy.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2004
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Teen comedy, where the new girl on the block tries to fit into an image-obsessed high school.
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Director: Mark S Waters

Writer: Tina Fey, based on the novel by Rosalind Wiseman

Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan, Jonathan Bennett, Daniel Franzese

Year: 2004

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

Festivals:

Glasgow 2011
EIFF 2015

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