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Mean Girls
Watch your back.
Directed by: Mark S. Waters
Lindsay Lohan
Rachel McAdams
Tina Fey
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 97 minutes 2004

Tina Fey takes off her shirt. Lindsay Lohan is in virtually every scene. Tim Meadows enforces authority. There are lots of jokes that are funny even when laughing over them later on with your friends. I don't know what you might think makes for a good movie, but personally, any reasonable combination of these elements can only result in movie goodness.

Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan, who turned 18 on July 2, 2004 for those keeping score at home, and I hear she does car commercials in Japan) has been home schooled for years while at least one of her parents did research in Africa. Things change when she starts attending high school for her Junior year in a wealthy suburb of Chicago. Not only does she have to adjust to the alien and wholly counterintuitive rules of public school administration, she is also thrust into a teenage social structure where roles are strictly defined and observed. She quickly makes friends with a flamboyantly gay guy and a slightly ethnic art goth, but she doesn't really fit in with them because, as they tell her, she's a class-A hottie. Which is true. Lindsay Lohan is a class-A hottie. So far, the movie hasn't strayed from reality.

Cady's hotness doesn't escape the notice of The Plastics, a group of three supercute super-popular girls who everyone else resents but secretly wishes they could emulate. Their leader, cookie-cutter-looking blond Regina George (Rachel McAdams, who looks 27 because she is, but will never be as hot as Lindsay Lohan, so she's probably just jealous anyway) thinks Cady is plenty good looking enough to increase Regina's power over the less-popular members of the school, so she invites her into her group. This excites Cady's less popular friends who urge her to befriend Regina in an effort to sabotage her self-esteem from a position of trust. Interestingly enough, that's exactly what Regina plans to do to Cady. Apparently, girls are mean to other girls in subtle ways that are indistinguishable from being their friends. I never knew.

The rest of the movie is a not-too-unpredictable but yet compelling unravelling of alliances and friendships. There is also a guy involved who Cady and Regina both want, naturally, and there's also a dance at the end. But those are to be expected. The acting is pretty spot-on for high school kids, which aren't that hard to portray anyway, and the direction and script are snappy and clear. I even checked with a girl who, like, totally goes to high school in Chicago right near where that movie was based, and, shut up, it's soooo just like the way it is there, for serious. Overall, it's a good teen movie. This might be equivalent to saying "It's a good poisonous cobra," but if you thought high school was an inexhaustible source of silliness and humor, this might just be the movie for you.