Monday, September 13, 2010

Mean Girls (DVD)

Mean Girls (DVD) Release date: 2004. Performers: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Tim Meadows, Lizzy Caplan. Studio: Paramount Pictures. Director: Mark Waters. Screenplay: Tina Fey. ISBN: 097363416043.

Plot summary:
Based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, Mean Girls tells the story of Cady (Lindsay Lohan), a formerly homeschooled 16-year-old raised in Africa, as she is thrown head first into a mainstream American high school. Through Cady's experiences interacting with new friends and foes, the absurdities, humor and challenges of high school are presented. An all-star cast includes Rachel McAdams as Regina, the "queen bee" of the popular "plastics," Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried as Regina's not-so-loyal followers, Tina Fey as Cady's well-meaning math teacher, and Lizzy Caplan as Cady's rebellious, "art freak" best friend. As various social groups seek to show Cady the ropes of their school, she becomes more entwined in plots resulting from years of clique warfare. She survived a childhood in the wilderness of Africa, but Cady’s chances of surviving two years of high school seem increasingly unlikely.

Critical evaluation:
Mean Girls is one of the defining films of internet generation teens. Tina Fey's clever screenplay coupled with the talents of the cast create an entertaining but reflective movie that appeals to teens and adults alike. Lindsay Lohan turns in arguably her best performance as new girl Cady. Her transformation from smart and compassionate to queen bee of the popular plastics is extremely believable. Equally as entertaining is Rachel McAdams as Regina, the ultimate mean girl. Regina is so vicious and coldhearted the audience almost feels sorry for her once her lustor begins to fade. The supporting cast is also wonderful, especially Saturday Night Live alums, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows and Amy Poehler. This hilarious tale will strike a cord with any current, or former, high school student who can attest to the truth in the cliques, lies, plots, and ultimate redemptions. An absolute must-see.

Reader's annotation:
The daughter of research zoologists, sixteen-year-old Cady has lived an adventurous but sheltered life in the wilds of Africa. After moving to the suburbs of Chicago and being thrown headfirst into the wilds of high school, will Cady survive when she falls for the ex-boyfriend of the most popular girl in school?

About the author (screenplay): Actress, writer and Saturday Night Live alum, Tina Fey, has become one of the most influential people in Hollywood in recent years. In 2008 she received the Associated Press Entertainer of the Year award. Born in 1970, Fey got her start in entertainment performing with the Second City comedy group. She began writing for Saturday Night Live in 1997, and performed on in sketches on the show from 2000-2006. The screenplay for Mean Girls was Fey's screenplay writing debut. In 2002, Fey wrote a pilot for the now hugely successful TV show 30 Rock. (from

Genre: Comedy

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:
Social aspects of middle and high school
Dangers of gossiping
Homeschooling vs. public school
Teenage sexuality
Teen partying (drinking, drug use)

Reading level/Interest age: MPAA PG-13 for coarse language, sexual content.

Challenge issues:
Coarse language
Sexual content
Teen drinking
Negative attitudes and behaviors of characters

Challenge counterpoints:
MPAA rating of PG-13 and warnings about language and content act as guide for parent.
Recommend parent watch film before children if concerned about content.
Recommend parent discuss items checked out from library with children if concerned child might check-out item from library and view without their knowledge.
Recommend parent watch film with child.

Reasons for inclusion:
Critically acclaimed and popular
Based on popular work of non-fiction

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