Continuing with our look into the world of deconstruction comes another film that many of you have undoubtedly seen, heard of, or read a meme from.
High school is a glorious place where you spend six to eight hours of your live, five days a week, for nine months, for four years of your life. You’ll make friends there, have fond memories, and if you’re really, really lucky you’ll have an Alpha bitch and her squad of skanks to ruin your day for the next four years. Good luck with that last part!
Mean Girls did something that hasn’t really been touched on in the film industry all that often. Yes, every movie or show about high school includes a group of mean girls but not every show or movie about high school that includes a group of mean girls actually goes into any kind of depth about who they are outside of being… well mean girls. Mean Girls (let’s just see how many times we can say this title in this review and get away with it!) fleshes out the titular girl posse that seems to come standard issue with high school movies.
You obviously have your Alpha Bitch (Regina George played by Rachel McAdams), your brainless beauty who’s a slut (Karen Walker played by Amanda Seyfried), and your gossipy hen who knows everything (Gretchen Wieners played by Lacey Chabert, and mind you I know the dialogue was originally intended for McAdam’s character, it just makes so much more sense with… someone who gossips and has big hair). Each and every single character is more than the archetype they’re based on, as long as they have more than a few minutes of screen time.
As mentioned in earlier reviews (and as will be expanded upon later in the week) deconstructions play a particularly interesting role in the industry of film, television, and literature. Things from our past our built upon so that things in our future can be expanded upon. Mean Girls opens us up to the worldview of a high school girl, and the challenges that women, in this society in particular, face on a daily basis. You have to have the rockin’ body, the fancy clothes, the perfect makeup and hair, and you must keep up with popular culture at all costs in order to be a part of that ‘in crowd’ otherwise you’re the Damian or Janis of the school. While fitting in is not the end all be all it’s also awesome to not have to be tormented for your entire high school career. But, as those of us like Janis and Damian (myself included) know, there is more to someone than the superficiality that we see in everyday life. Each of these characters, yes even Karen, have their flaws and insecurities and Mean Girls painstakingly paints a picture of all of those things that young girls and women are suffering in life that is simply glossed over in a sex-crazed society where women are nothing more than objects.
Lindsay Lohan stars as Cady Heron, our Catty heroine in what would later become known as the film that eerily foreshadowed the kind of life Lindsay would lead. Here’s hoping it all works out! Lizzy Caplan (recently in the abysmal The Interview and the equally abysmal Cloverfield) is Janis Ian and Daniel Franzese is Damian, our comedic duo who are much more than our Goth and gay stereotypes, even if that seems to be the basis of their characters. Tina Fey, from SNL and other things, plays Ms. Sharon Norbury, a teacher seemingly cursed with bad luck and Jonathan Bennett (whom everyone and their brother has come to the conclusion is homosexual even though there hasn’t been a single press release, interview, or some other such official avenue where Jonathan Bennett himself declares himself ‘one of the gays’ as many people like to refer to us as if we’re a species other than human), is our handsome high school dream-boat who all the guy want to be and all the girls want to be with….
Isn’t it awesome that this film passes the Bechdel test without even trying? Yeah, it’s that kind of movie!