Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004). It’s not Heathers, for better and for worse. I realized, as I watched, that my standards for this kind of movie pretty much boiled down to “is it as good as Heathers”, which is odd since, as much as I love that movie, I don’t think it’s great (7/10). Despite the title, Mean Girls is nowhere near as mean as Heathers, primarily because there is no real equivalent in Mean Girls for Christian Slater’s character, J.D., in the earlier movie. J.D. is a psychopath who kills people ... the outsider in Mean Girls who tries to appeal to Lindsay Lohan’s Cady is Lizzy Caplan’s Janis Ian, who is never more than just an outsider. Even as Cady turns into one of the “Plastics”, the level of meanness never rises above making her rival gain weight. Heathers gains added punch because we see why J.D. would appeal to Winona Ryder’s Veronica. This also makes Heathers less real than Mean Girls, which is fairly recognizable as a teenage tale of high school hierarchies. One place where Mean Girls has a clear advantage is in its cast: Lindsay Lohan before she became a tabloid joke, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lacey Chabert, my beloved Lizzy Caplan, and making her film debut, Amanda Seyfried. OK, I still prefer Heathers, but that’s just taste preferences ... both movies are fun and reasonably insightful. 7/10. #683 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century. The obvious double-bill partner would be Heathers.
Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt, 2008). 7/10.