Not since Heathers have teenage girls been depicted as the manipulative, selfish devils they can be with such accuracy as they are in Mean Girls. The movie nails high school's hierarchy of cliques, where popularity equals power and the have-nots eye the haves with envious contempt. The main character, Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan), has lived in Africa for 15 years, but lions could have never prepared the home-schooled sweetie for the horror that is public high school. When she is befriended by two artsy outcasts, the three set out to destroy the school's most feared clique, a trio of superficial teen queens known as "the Plastics." Unfortunately, Cady is sucked into their world of lies, betrayal, fashion and teen idolization.
The best part of the movie is the script by SNL's Tina Fey, adapted from Rosalind Wiseman's sociological study Queen Bees and Wannabes. As in her "Weekend Updates" sketches, Fey writes comic dialogue that is cutting but without real malice. Many of the sharpest lines go to Rachel McAdams as the most plastic of the Plastics, Lacey Chabert as a hopelessly insecure blabbermouth and Amanda Seyfried as her clueless cohort. Underneath the sarcastic humor is a serious message about the needless cruelty of social cliqueswhich Fey herself delivers as the movie's voice of reason.
Although the DVD has several special features, it is not worth renting the movie just to check them out. Fey, director Mark Waters and producer Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey seem to have fun in their commentary, but the viewer doesn't feel invited to the party. There are also deleted scenes (some funny) and a feature called "word vomit," which contains the bloopers (let's just say they ain't like Jackie Chan's). However, the three "interstitials" (30-second interludes delivered by Lohan and the Plastics' dimmest bulbs) are the disc's best extra. The real attraction remains Mean Girls itself: few movies illustrate the social Darwinism of high school life so amusingly.