Mean Girls is an American teen comedy film directed by Mark Waters, written by Tina Fey, and released in April 2004. The film, which stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler and Fey, is partially based on Rosalind Wiseman's 2002 non-fiction self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, which describes female high school social cliques and the damaging effects they can have on girls. Fey also drew from her own experience at Upper Darby High School as an inspiration for some of the concepts in the film. The movie introduced Amanda Seyfried in her film debut.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Waters|
|Produced by||Lorne Michaels|
|Screenplay by||Tina Fey|
|Based on||Queen Bees and Wannabes|
by Rosalind Wiseman
|Narrated by||Lindsay Lohan|
|Music by||Rolfe Kent|
|Edited by||Wendy Greene Bricmont|
Lorne Michaels Productions
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$129 million|
Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels produced the film; Tina Fey, screenwriter and co-star of the film, was a long-term cast member and writer for SNL. Although set in Evanston, Illinois (a Chicago suburb), the film was mostly shot in Toronto, Canada. The film marks Lohan's second collaboration with director Waters, the first being Freaky Friday, released a year earlier.
Released on April 30, 2004, the film grossed $129 million worldwide and developed a cult following. A direct-to-video sequel, Mean Girls 2, premiered on ABC Family (now Freeform) on January 23, 2011. The musical adaptation of Mean Girls premiered on Broadway in March 2018.
Sixteen-year-old homeschooled Cady Heron and her zoologist parents Betsy and Chip Heron return to the United States after a twelve-year research trip in Africa, settling in Evanston, Illinois. On her first day of attending a public school, North Shore High School, Cady attempts to make new friends, but to no avail. The next day, she meets and befriends Janis Ian and Damian Leigh. They educate Cady on the school's various cliques and warn her to avoid the most popular and infamous one, the "Plastics", which is led by fit queen bee Regina George and include the insecure but rich Gretchen Wieners and sweet but dimwitted Karen Smith. The Plastics take an interest in Cady after defending her against a sexist classmate, and invite her to sit with them at lunch. After learning of the invite, Janis asks Cady to befriend them and tell her everything they say.
Cady soon learns about "The Burn Book", an old journal of Regina's that is filled with rumors, secrets, and insults about other girls and some teachers at school. After finding about "The Burn Book" Janis devises a plan to get back at Regina. Initially, Cady doesn't carry out Janis' scheme for ethical reasons, claiming that she thinks Regina is a good friend. Meanwhile, Cady becomes attracted to Regina's ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels, and purposely fails math in order to have an excuse to talk to him. Regina finds out about Cady’s crush on Aaron and even volunteers to talk to him for her. But Regina jealously steals Aaron back at a Halloween party by kissing him in front of Cady. This spurs Cady to fully commit to Janis' plan to cut off Regina's "resources". This involves breaking Regina and Aaron up, tricking Regina into eating "Swedish nutrition bars" that actually make her gain weight, and turning Regina's fellow Plastics against her. In the process, Cady unwittingly remakes herself in Regina's image, becoming spiteful and superficial, and abandons Janis and Damian.
When Regina is finally made aware of Cady's treachery, she retaliates by spreading the contents of the Burn Book all over the school, quickly inciting massive socially motivated brawls throughout the halls. To avoid suspicion, Regina inserts a fake label of herself in the book in order to blame Cady, Gretchen, and Karen, the only female juniors not mentioned in the book. Karen convinces the school's principal, Ron Duvall, that they did not write the book, who soon quells the fighting and gathers all of the junior girls in the gymnasium. Math teacher Ms. Norbury, whom the Burn Book defamed as a drug dealer, makes the girls face the ways they all treat each other and apologize to each other and the teachers; the plan sees success, as friendships are rekindled. When Janis' turn comes, she defies Ms. Norbury, confessing her plan to destroy Regina with Cady's help and openly mocking Regina. Pursued by an apologetic Cady, Regina storms out of the school and is struck by a school bus, breaking her spine.
Shunned by Aaron, grounded by her parents, and despised by her peers at school, Cady takes full blame for the Burn Book and becomes an outcast. After she makes amends with Regina, Cady's guilt soon dissolves, and she returns to her original personality. To make up for the math tests she failed, she joins the Mathletes in the state championship finals. Cady answers the tie-breaker correctly, and they win the championship for the school. At the Spring Fling dance, Regina's new boyfriend Shane Oman is elected King, while Cady is elected Queen. Onstage, Cady declares that all of her classmates are wonderful in their own way, snaps her plastic tiara, and distributes the pieces to other girls in the crowd. She then reconciles with Janis, Damian, and Aaron, and reaches a truce with the Plastics.
The Plastics disband over summer vacation: Regina joins the lacrosse team to deal with her anger, Karen is the school weather reporter and Gretchen joins the "Cool Asians" clique. Aaron has graduated from high school and attends Northwestern University in Chicago. Janis has begun dating Mathlete Kevin Gnapoor, whom she initially disliked. As Cady reflects on the societal peace that has taken over North Shore High, a group of new "Junior Plastics" has arisen, and Cady imagines them being hit by a bus.
- Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, a 16-year-old girl who transfers to a public high school after being homeschooled her whole life in Africa.
- Jessie Wright as 5-year-old Cady.
- Rachel McAdams as Regina George, a rich popular teenager. Regina is Janis's ex-best friend and the leader of The Plastics.
- Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Wieners, a member of the Plastics who only wants Regina's acceptance.
- Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith, the airhead best friend of Regina and Gretchen.
- Lizzy Caplan as Janis Ian, a goth artistic girl who befriends Cady and hatches a plan to take down Regina. Janis is Damian's best friend and Regina's ex-best friend.
- Daniel Franzese as Damian Leigh, Janis and Cady's gay best friend who is flamboyant and musical.
- Jonathan Bennett as Aaron Samuels, Regina's ex-boyfriend, and Cady's love interest.
- Rajiv Surendra as Kevin Gnapoor, the "hormonal Mathletes president" who is attracted to Janis.
- Tina Fey as Ms. Sharon Norbury, the school calculus teacher.
- Tim Meadows as Principal Ron Duvall.
- Amy Poehler as June George, Regina and Kylie's irresponsible mother.
- Ana Gasteyer as Betsy Heron, Cady's mom.
- Neil Flynn as Chip Heron, Cady's dad.
- Daniel DeSanto as Jason, Gretchen's unfaithful boyfriend.
- Diego Klattenhoff as Shane Oman, a football player who has an on-and-off relationship with Regina.
- Alisha Morrison as Lea Edwards
- Julia Chantrey as Amber D'Alessio
- Dwayne Hill as Coach Carr
- Jonathan Malen as Kristen Hadley's boyfriend
Tina Fey read Rosalind Wiseman's Queen Bees and Wannabes and called Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels to suggest it could be turned into a film. Michaels contacted Paramount Pictures, who purchased the rights to the book. As the book is nonfiction, Fey wrote the plot from scratch, borrowing elements from her own high school experience and her impressions of Evanston Township High School, upon which the film's fictional "North Shore High School" is based. The real Janis Ian was one of the musical guests on the first Saturday Night Live episode, in which she sang the song "At Seventeen", which can be heard playing in the background when the girls are fighting at Regina's house. Other characters bullying Caplan's character persistently call her a lesbian throughout the film; the real Janis Ian is an out lesbian.
Lindsay Lohan first read for Regina George, but the casting team felt she was closer to what they were looking for in the actress who played Cady, and since Lohan feared the "mean girl" role would harm her reputation, she agreed to play the lead. Rachel McAdams was cast as Regina because Fey felt McAdams being "kind and polite" made her perfect for such an evil-spirited character. McAdams was cast during the time as Allison Hamilton in The Notebook. Amanda Seyfried also read for Regina, and the producers instead suggested her for Karen due to Seyfried's "spacey and daffy sense of humor". Both Lacey Chabert and Daniel Franzese were the last actors tested for their roles. Lizzy Caplan was at first considered too pretty for the part of Janis, for which director Mark Waters felt a "Kelly Osbourne-like actress" was necessary, but Caplan was picked for being able to portray raw emotion. Fey wrote two roles based on fellow SNL alumni, Amy Poehler (whom Fey thought the producers would not accept because of being too young to portray a teenager's mother) and Tim Meadows, and the cast ended up with a fourth veteran of the show, Ana Gasteyer. Evan Rachel Wood was offered a role in the film, but turned it down.
Although set in Evanston, Illinois, the film was mostly shot in Toronto at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute and Malvern Collegiate Institute, as well as at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey. Notable landmarks include the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall and Sherway Gardens. Principal photography commenced on September 27, 2003, and concluded on November 21.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $24.4 million from 3,159 screens at 2,839 theaters in the United States, ranking #1 at the box office and averaging $8,606 per venue. The film closed on September 9, 2004, grossing $86.1 million domestically and $43 million internationally for a total worldwide gross of $129 million.
Mean Girls received generally positive reviews; critics lauded McAdams' performance and labeled the film as Lohan, Seyfried and Caplan's breakthrough roles. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 84% based on 183 reviews, with an average rating of 6.93/10. The site's critical consensus states that the film is "funnier and more smartly written than the average teen comedy." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post stated that it "boasts a one-two-three punch in star Lindsay Lohan, screenwriter Tina Fey and director Mark Waters, and, indeed, it delivers a knockout". The screenplay was highly praised by critics with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calling it "comic gold". In November 2012, Rotten Tomatoes named it in its 'Top 50 Greatest Teen Comedies'.
The film won and was nominated for a number of awards throughout 2004–05.
|2004||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Lindsay Lohan||Won|
|Choice Movie: Breakout Actress||Lindsay Lohan||Won|
|Choice Movie: Blush||Lindsay Lohan||Won|
|Choice Movie: Breakout Actress||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Breakout Actor||Jonathan Bennett||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Comedy||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actress: Comedy||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Blush||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Chemistry||Lindsay Lohan and Jonathan Bennett||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Fight/Action Sequence||Lindsay Lohan vs. Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Hissy Fit||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Liar||Lindsay Lohan||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Villain||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|2005||MTV Movie Awards||Best Female Performance||Lindsay Lohan||Won|
|Breakthrough Female Performance||Rachel McAdams||Won|
|Best On-Screen Team||Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried||Won|
|Best Villain||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Kids Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actress||Lindsay Lohan||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie: Comedy||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Award||Best Adapted Screenplay||Tina Fey||Nominated|
|Mean Girls: |
Music from the Motion Picture
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||September 21, 2004|
|Singles from Mean Girls: |
Music from the Motion Picture
- "Dancing with Myself" by The Donnas (Generation X cover)
- "God Is a DJ" by Pink
- "Milkshake" by Kelis
- "Sorry (Don't Ask Me)" by All Too Much
- "Built This Way" by Samantha Ronson
- "Rip Her to Shreds" by Boomkat (Blondie cover)
- "Overdrive" by Katy Rose
- "One Way or Another" by Blondie
- "Operate" by Peaches
- "Misty Canyon" by Anjali Bhatia
- "Mean Gurl" by Gina Rene and Gabriel Rene
- "Hated" by Nikki Cleary
- "Psyché Rock", by Pierre Henry (Fatboy Slim Malpaso mix)
- "The Mathlete Rap" by Rajiv Surendra
- "Jingle Bell Rock"
Though not included on the soundtrack, other songs heard in the film include the single "Pass That Dutch" by Missy Elliott, "Naughty Girl" by Beyoncé, "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera, "Fire" by Joe Budden featuring Busta Rhymes, "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian, and "Halcyon + On + On" by Orbital, "Put 'Em Up" by N.O.R.E featuring Pharrell Williams, "Oh Yeah" / "Run" by Gabriel Rene and "Love's Theme" by The Love Unlimited Orchestra.
Mean Girls was released on VHS and DVD in North America on September 21, 2004, five months after it opened in theaters. It was released in a widescreen special collector's edition and a fullscreen collector's edition, both including several deleted scenes, a blooper reel, three T.V. Spots, the theatrical trailer, previews, and three featurettes. A Blu-ray version of the film was released on April 14, 2009. The film was later re-released on a 15th anniversary blu-ray on June 11, 2019.
The film is a stand-alone sequel and the plot does not continue the story from the first movie or have the same cast members with the exception of Tim Meadows who reprises his role as Principal Ron Duvall. The film is directed by Melanie Mayron and stars Meaghan Martin and Jennifer Stone.
Legacy and cultural impact
Mariah Carey expressed several times that she is a fan of the film, using quotes from the film in several interviews. Carey's 2009 single, "Obsessed", begins with an interlude quote where she says, "And I was like, 'Why are you so obsessed with me?'", a line said by Regina in the film. Carey's ex-husband, Nick Cannon, revealed that the song was inspired by the film. She referenced the film again in 2013 during an episode of American Idol.
In August 2013, the White House tweeted a photo of President Obama's dog, Bo, holding a tennis ball and captioning "Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen". Taco Bell made a reply to the White House, also using one of the quotes from the film.
In June 2018, the official Twitter account of the Israeli Embassy in the U.S. made headlines when it responded to a tweet by Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, calling Israel "a malignant cancerous tumor", with an animated GIF of the "Why are you so obsessed with me?" quote from Mean Girls.
In an interview about the film, Fey noted, "Adults find it funny. They are the ones who are laughing. Young people watch it like a reality show. It's much too close to their real experiences so they are not exactly guffawing." Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "'Fetch' may never happen, but 2004's eminently quotable movie is still one of the sharpest high school satires ever. Which is pretty grool, if you ask me!" In 2006, Entertainment Weekly also named it the twelfth best high school film of all time, explaining: "There was a time when Lindsay Lohan was best known for her acting rather than her party-hopping. Showcasing Lindsay Lohan in arguably her best role to date, this Tina Fey-scripted film also boasts a breakout turn by Rachel McAdams as evil queen bee Regina George (Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen! It's not going to happen!). While Mean Girls is technically a comedy, its depiction of girl-on-girl cattiness stings incredibly true."
October 3 has been dubbed on social media as "Mean Girls Day" in reference to a quote said by the film's main character. People also celebrate this day by wearing “Pink” based on another quote said by Karen in the film. Clothing designers have followed suit by printing this quote onto many pieces and merchandise items.
The 6th episode of How to Get Away with Murder season 3 included several references to the film, including Aja Naomi King's character Michaela Pratt using the line "you can't sit with us", Viola Davis's character Annalise Keating eating her lunch in a toilet cubicle after feeling like an outcast, Karla Souza's character Laurel Castillo using sweatpants on a Monday and Behzad Dabu's character Simon Drake calling several other students "mean girls".
In other media
A game for PC was released in 2009  featuring characters specifically created for the game. In 2010, a Mean Girls video game developed by 505 Games for the Nintendo DS handheld game console was announced, but was not released. In 2015, an iOS game based on the film was released. The mobile app, Episode, has several Mean Girls interactive stories set between the events of the first and second films, following the characters from the first film.
On January 28, 2013, Fey confirmed that a musical adaption of Mean Girls was in the works. Fey wrote the book of the show, 30 Rock composer and Fey's husband Jeff Richmond worked on the music, and Casey Nicholaw directed. Paramount was also involved. It premiered at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2017.
Adapted from another book penned by Rosalind Wiseman, Mean Moms would be written by Sean Anders and John Morris and would star Jennifer Aniston as a mother facing the cut-throat life of modern suburbia. However, in May 2014, New Line Cinema pulled the film from its proposed release date of May 2015; even though the film is still slated for development, there is not currently a release date for the spin-off. On October 7, it was announced that the film was added to the California Film Tax Credit program for the 2014–15 fiscal year, in which the production must start in California within 180 days of notification from the state to receive the $6.7 million production tax credit. In May 2015, it was confirmed the project was still happening and Sean Anders would direct the film; in late 2015 Anders told Cinema Blend the project had been placed on hold.
In late September 2014, discussions arose that Lohan had pitched an idea to Fey for a sequel. In October 2014, Lohan, along with other cast members of the original film, asked Fey to write a screenplay for a sequel. The idea was brought up during a 10th anniversary for the film in People magazine. In December 2016, Lohan stated she was still trying hard to make the sequel, revealing she had written a treatment for the film, with the hopes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Jimmy Fallon appearing in the film. She also stated she knew Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels and Paramount Pictures were busy, stating: "I will keep forcing it and pushing it on them until we do it."
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