Mean Girls is a teen comedy movie released in 2004. It is based on the self-help book Teen Queens and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, which looks at teen cliques in high school and the detrimental effect they can have on girls at a difficult and challenging time in their lives. The screenplay was written by Tina Fey, who also stars in the movie. "Mean Girls" is directed by Mark Waters, and it's producer is Lorne Michaels of "Saturday Night Live' fame. Bringing together a core team from SNL that included Michaels, Tina Fey and also Amy Poehler, Tim Meadows and Ana Gasteyer was seen as an act of comic genius.
The movie depicts the high school experience of Cady Heron, the daughter of two scientists. She has been home-schooled whilst living in Africa with her parents. Now, in Illinois, she is attending high school for the first time. Nothing is really outstanding about Cady except for the fact that unlike her fellow students she has never attended school before. Her first day is a baptism by fire in the complexities of high school popularity and friendships, as she is given a table-by-table explanation of every single clique by her new friend Janis. Cady soon joins the popular clique led by mean girl queen bee, Regina George, but finding herself taking on some of their not-so-nice characteristics, Cady plots with Janis to bring about the Plastics' downfall.
The character of Cady is really very naive and she is underplayed brilliantly by Lindsay Lohan who received multiple accolades for her performance. She portrays Cady as a down to earth, normal, pretty young girl who thinks that if someone says they like you then they actually do, and that people are nice by nature. This naivetie never really leaves her although she does become considerably more realistic as the movie progresses. This movie is her second collaboration with director Mark Waters as they first worked together on the movie Freaky Friday the year before.
As well as being called Lindsay Lohan's break-out film as a young adult star, it was also the break-out for Rachel McAdams as well. McAdams' portrayal of the exceptionally mean Regina George inspired a cult all of its own, and her nastier lines from the movie were quoted by teens everywhere. Because of this the movie is very influential in pop culture: games, websites, fansites, and even Regina quotes t-shirts have been made.
Although the movie was made for teens, it is also very popular with adults who find it very amusing and who marvel at its accuracy in portraying how seriously teens can take things of very little depth or consequence. It also acts as a springboard for issues like bullying and mean-girl cliques that are hard to breach. Mean Girls opened to great acclaim, and at the end of its first week was number one at the box office. It was declared by Rotten Tomatoes to be one of the top fifty teen comedy movies of all time.