|Released||April 30, 2004|
|Run time||97 minutes|
|Next||Mean Girls 2|
Mean Girls is a 2004 American teen comedy film directed by Mark Waters. The screenplay was written by Tina Fey and is based in part on the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, which describes how female high school social cliques operate and the effect they can have on girls. The film stars Lindsay Lohan and features a supporting cast of Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried (in her film debut), and Lizzy Caplan. The film is produced by Saturday Night Live (SNL) creator Lorne Michaels. Screenwriter and co-star of the film, Tina Fey, was a longtime castmember and writer for SNL. The film also features appearances from SNL cast members Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer and Amy Poehler.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics and was a box office success, grossing $129,042,871 worldwide. Mean Girls has been praised as one of Lohan's break-out film roles.
Cady is the 16-year-old homeschooled daughter of zoologist parents Chip and Betsy Heron. They have returned to the US, in Evanston, IL, after residing in Africa for 12 years. Cady is unprepared for her first day of public school, at North Shore High School. With the help of Janis Ian and Damian Leigh, Cady learns about the various cliques. She is warned to avoid the school's most exclusive clique, the Plastics, the reigning trio of girls led by the queen bee Regina George. The Plastics take an interest in Cady, inviting her to sit with them at lunch and go shopping with them after school. Upon realizing that Cady has been accepted into the Plastics, Janis hatches a plan to get revenge on Regina, using Cady to infiltrate the Plastics.
Having ingratiated herself with the Plastics per Janis' plan, Cady learns about the Burn Book. This scrapbook is Regina's top secret notebook filled with vicious rumors, secrets, and gossip about all the other girls in their class, as well as some boys and teachers. Cady soon falls in love with Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels, whom Regina successfully steals back from Cady in a fit of jealousy. Hurt and frustrated, Cady continues with Janis' plan which involves cutting off Regina's "resources", which include separating her from her boyfriend Aaron, destroying her beauty, and turning Regina's fellow Plastics, insecure rich girl Gretchen Wieners and sweet but ditzy Karen Smith, against her. Cady starts feigning failure at math to get Aaron's attention. Additionally, she couldn't help but "Word Vomit " about Regina's infidelity with another boy. Cady also tricks Regina into eating high-calorie nutrition bars (called Kälteen) by claiming that they will result in weight-loss. Furthermore, she turns Gretchen against Regina by making her believe that Regina prioritizes her friendship with Cady over her friendship with Gretchen.
In her efforts to get revenge on Regina, Cady gradually loses her individuality. At one point, Aaron Samuels disdainfully states that Cady has become "just like a clone of Regina". Her "act" gradually becomes reality and she becomes as spiteful as Regina. As a result of Cady's new-found fixation on materialism (and her own reflection) causes her to abandon her two best friends, Janis and Damian.
Regina strikes back, spreading the entire contents of her Burn Book around the school and inciting a riot. To avoid suspicion, Regina also commits libel against herself by slandering her own name in the "Burn Book" ( in order to focus the blame on Cady, Gretchen, and Karen). The riot is eventually quelled by Principal Duvall. Math teacher, Ms. Norbury, who also appeared in the Burn Book (in which Cady labelled her as a "drug pusher") makes the girls realize that all of them are guilty of hurting their female peers. She has each girl confess and apologize to the rest of the girls (followed by a trust-fall exercise). When Janis' turn comes, Regina makes an insulting joke about her sexuality, at which the crowd laughs. Janis retaliates by confessing her plan to destroy Regina with Cady's help and openly mocks Regina with the support of the entire school. Regina storms out, pursued by an apologetic Cady, and gets hit by a school bus in her haste. Rumors circulate that Cady intentionally pushed Regina in front of the bus.
Now without friends, shunned by Aaron, and distrusted by everyone at school, even being distrusted by her own parents, Cady decides to make amends by taking full blame for the Burn Book. Though severely punished by her confession, her guilt dissolves and she returns to her old personality. As part of her punishment and her reformation, she joins the Mathletes, which Damien and Regina both described earlier as social suicide, in their competition. There, Cady has an epiphany while competing against a very unattractive girl, realizing that even if she made fun of the girl's appearance it would not stop the girl from beating her.
At the Spring Fling dance, Cady is elected Spring Fling Queen, but in her acceptance speech, she declares her victory is meaningless: they are all wonderful in their own way and thus the victory belongs to everyone. As a symbolic gesture, she breaks her tiara and distributes the pieces to her classmates. Cady makes up with Janis and Damian, reconciles with Aaron, and reaches a truce with the former Plastics.
The film ends with the Plastics disbanding by the start of the new school year: Regina joins the lacrosse team as a way to channel her anger positively, Karen becomes the school weather girl, Gretchen joins the Cool Asians clique, and Cady dates Aaron as well as becoming an Actual Human Being by hanging out with Karen, Jessica Lopez, Damian, and Janis, who starts a relationship with Cady's fellow mathlete Kevin Gnapoor. Cady reflects that the "Girl World" she lives in is at peace. There is however now a group of freshman girls at North Shore that Damian would dub Junior Plastics.