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Mean Girls

Girl World vs. Animal World

If the marketing for Mean Girls causes you to believe it's just another mindless teen comedy full of crass hijinks, ultra mini skirts and syrupy after-school-special moments completely devoid of humor or an engaging plot, then you'd be only half right. Produced by Mr. Saturday Night Live Lorne Michaels, written by the oh-so-witty Ms. Weekend Update Tina Fey and, oddly enough, based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, this flick is much funnier and more appealing than expected.

Tina Fey's touches can immediately be seen from the very first scene, and many of the supporting cast- those of drinking age at least- are current/former SNL performers such as Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler and Fey herself. Thus, unlike other movies of the same genre, the teen drama mama aspects are somewhat balanced and a quirky sense of satirical humor is infused into the PG-13 plot.

Of course, this is still about high school. Cady (Lindsay Lohan) has recently relocated from the wilds of Africa to Evanston, Illinois where she would have become an instant super-freak if it weren't for the tutelage of two other outcasts- the caustic Janice (Lizzy Caplan) and the super gay Damian (scene stealer Daniel Franzese)- and her good looks. It's these assets that get her noticed by The Plastics- led by Regina George (Rachel McAdams)- a clique of the three most popular girls in school, well, the most wealthy, scantily clad and well-endowed.

To Janice these girls represent an evil that knows no bounds, and she enlists Cady in a diabolical plan to overthrow their dictator, Regina, and expose her for whom she really is: "a life-ruiner". Meanwhile, Cady makes the mistake of crushing on a senior in her math class, Aaron (Jonathan Bennett), who so happens to be the evil ringleader's ex-boyfriend. Throw some backstabbing, an overeager Mathletes team leader/Bad Ass (Rajiv Surendra) and some life lessons learned from the animal world up in the mix and you have yourself a movie.

Along with the witty strains in the movie (examples include: Regina's little sister constantly watching MTV and doing things like shaking her booty to Kelis's 'Milkshake" video as pop culture lays down for her a foundation of skankhood; Regina's overeager mom who vicariously lives through her daughter's scandalous behavior; and the unfulfilled physical longing between Fey and Meadows), there are the saccharine ones. After all, what would a teen comedy ending be without its prerequisite happy ending and cheesy moments?

However, these melodramatic moments are easily balanced by the humorous ones. Mean Girls allows you to both drift into 'high school world' from the safety of adulthood and lets you hate on all those things you despise about school if you're still stuck being sixteen, wearing braces and living with your parents.

Stars: 3.5 out 5