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MEAN GIRLS (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 9, 2009 by  



“The ultimate girl power film, ‘Mean Girls’ features a hilarious but smart screenplay by Tina Fey.   Enjoyably fun,  entertaining and cool!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: MEAN GIRLS

DURATION: 96 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: English SDH Subtitled , English Subtitled , French Dubbed & Subtitled , Portuguese Subtitled , Spanish Dubbed & Subtitled, Audio:     5.1 Dolby Digital , 5.1 Dolby TrueHD

RATED: PG-13

COMPANY: Paramount  Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2009

Directed by Mark Waters

Screenplay by Tina Fey

Based on the Book “Queen Bees and Wannabees” by Rosalind Wiseman

Produced by Lorne Michaels

Executive Producer: Jill Messick

Director of Photography: Daryn Okada, ASC

Production Designer: Cary White

Editor: Wendy Greene Bricmont, A.C.E.

Co-Producer: Louise Rosner

Music Score by Rolfe Kent

Music Supervisor: Amanda Scheer Demme

Set Decoration by Patricia Cuccia

Cotume Design by Mary Jane Fort

Cast:

Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron

Rachel Mcadams as Regina George

Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Wieners

Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith

Tim Meadows as Mr. Ron Duvall

Ana Gasteyer as Mrs. Heron

Amy Poehler as Mrs. George

Tina Fey as Ms. Sharon Norbury

Jonathan Bennett as Aaron Samuels

Lizzy Caplan as Janis Ian

Daniel Franzese as Damian

Neil Flynn as Mr. Heron

Raised in the African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) thinks she knows about “survival of the fittest.” But the law of the jungle takes on a whole new meaning when the home-schooled 15-year-old enters public high school for the first time and falls prey to the psychological warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face today.

“MEAN GIRLS” is a 2004 film that help launch the careers of Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert but also a film that showcased the brilliance and humor of a screenplay by Tina Fey.  The film was an ultimate success debuting at #1 in the box office and having grossed over $129 million worldwide, making it into the top 25 highest grossing films of 2004.

Directed by Mark Waters (“Head Over Heels”, “Freaky Friday”, “The Spiderwick Chronicles”) and produced by Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels, the film is based on the non-fiction book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman, a book with a message about high school cliques and what teenage girls have to face in this modern age but to have solutions and not re-enforcing stereotypes of what may considered to be as cool and not cool.

The film kicks off with the Heron family who has moved back to the US from Africa.  Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has been homeschooled for years by her parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn) and is not up-to-date on how things go in the US.  It’s her first day at an American high school, North Shore High School in Illinois.

She becomes friends with the high school misfits Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and her gay friend Damien (Daniel Franzese) who quickly teach her about high school cliques such as the jocks, the smart kids, the nerdy Asians, the cool Asians, the girls who tend to overeat their problems, the girls who are ultra thin, the band geeks who are constantly making out, the beautiful but mean African American teens but most interesting are the Plastics.

The Plastics are three girls which consist of the Queen Bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams), a former best friend of Janis; always into her self but never can measure up to the Queen Bee Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert) and the very dumb blonde Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried).

While Cady is unknowingly being pranked on by Gretchen’s boyfriend, Regina invites the new girl to sit with them.  Because this is quite rare, Janis and Damien convince Cady to join the Plastics, so she can be a spy and tell them what they do behind-the-scenes.

Cady trying to fit in as a teenager goes for it and she learns that Queen Bee Regina is into shopping, very rich and has a mother (Amy Poehler) who tries to live through the life of her daughter and pretty much makes the rules for The Plastics.  Gretchen on the other hand is always trying to be a very good plastic but she also bares the brunt from Regina when things don’t go as planned.  And as for Karen, she’s just not very smart but believes she has ESPn which she gives thanks to her boobs for the power.  Nevertheless, Cady discovers their quips but also discover a top secret notebook known as the “Burn Book” which they write down all rumors, secrets and gossip about all other girls in high school.

As for Cady, she does excellent in school, getting A’s and her teacher Mrs. Norbury (Tina Fey) wants her to join the high school’s competitive math team but of course, that would be social suicide according to the Plastics.  But in her class, she starts to become attracted to Aaron Samuels.

When Cady tells Gretchen and Karen about the new guy she is attracted to, the girls tell her that she can’t go for him because he’s Regina’s ex-boyfriend and the Plastics do not go for their friend’s ex’s.

But for Cady, she really digs Aaron, to the point that she will do anything to get close to him, even failing math so he can tutor him.  Meanwhile, Cady continues her infiltration of the Plastics but also starts to become one of them.  Buying flashier clothes and even starting to talk like them.  Of course, she says it’s part of the infiltration of the group but her friends and family are noticing a change.

Regina eventually finds out that Cady likes Aaron and tells him that she will hook them up.  Cady is so happy and decides to throw a Halloween party in hopes that she can get close to him.

But with Cady enjoying her life as The Plastics, she starts to ignore Janis and Damien, even going so far in not inviting them to her party.  But the party doesn’t go too well, Regina knowing that Cady wants to be with Aaron starts making out with her ex in front of her.   Regina has backstabbed her.

So, now Cady wants revenge on Regina and thus Janis gives her a suggestion of using these Swedish protein bars that help a person gain weight but having Regina eat them and telling her that it will help her lose weight.  So, the plan is on and Cady goes on revenge mode.  Also, going as far as trying to get the Plastics to go against Regina and trying to get Aaron in the same rooms where Regina and her boyfriend are together and letting him know that she’s messing around behind his back.

Cady becomes the ultimate Queen Bee but at what price does she have to pay when she has become a different person, a person that hurts everyone around her and a person that her fellow students begin to despise.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“MEAN GIRLS” gets its High Definition 1080p treatment with an aspect ratio of 1:78:1.  This is probably the best this film is ever going to look as it looks very colorful and vibrant.  Overall, the picture quality is quite solid.  Lohan’s red hair, Chabert’s tan and overall everything is just colorful and Costume Designer Mary Jane Fort did a great job in selecting clothing that would pop.  Overall, a very good transfer.

As for the audio, audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and is primarily a dialogue and music-based film, so audio is quite clear and music is quite punchy and vibrant.  “MEAN GIRLS” is not exactly a film to expect full on surround sound but overall, the audio is very good and clear but one thing I’ve noticed from the Blu-ray and the original DVD version is how alive the music comes through on High Definition.  All in all, for teen drama film, audio is benefited from its High Definition presentation.  Audio is also presented in French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Subtitles include English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Special features included on the “MEAN GIRLS” Blu-ray disc are:

  • Commentary: Commentary by director Mark Waters, Screenplay Writer & Actress Tina Fey and Producer Lorne Michaels – This is actually a very fun commentary as Waters and Fey have fun discussing certain areas of the film.  Lorne Michaels tends to be quiet for the most part but Waters asks Fey how she came up with several of the ideas and overall, both have fun exchanges and interesting tidbits especially when it comes to bringing starts from “Saturday Night Live” to the film.
  • Only the Strong Survive – (24:50) A featurette with interviews with the cast, Director Mark Waters and Screenwriter Tina Fey.  Overall, the main featurette with each talent talking about their characters and working with each other.
  • The Politics of Girl World – (10:30) An interview with Rosalind Wiseman, the author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes” which the film is based on.  Rosalind explains about how and whys he wrote the book and how it became a film and what scenes she enjoyed from the film.
  • Plastic Fashion – (10:25) An important part of the film is its fashion and this featurette is an interview with Costume Designer Mary Jane Fort as she talks about swatches, designs and what she wanted to accomplish for each main character in their wardrobe.  Also, includes video test footage with the talent sporting the various wardrobe.
  • Word Vomit – (5:42) This segment is the gag reel featuring the main talent flubbing their lines or just having fun and having pranks on the set.
  • So Fetch – (7:01) Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Mark Waters and Screenplay Writer Tina Fey

• Additional Scenes: 1) Damiam Rigs Table – deleted
• Additional Scenes: 2) 112, Excellent! – deleted
• Additional Scenes: 3) Mom’s Underwear – deleted
• Additional Scenes: 4) Shoe Shopping – extended
• Additional Scenes: 5) Tonight I’ll Like It – deleted
• Additional Scenes: 6) Eaten by Cannibals – alternate
• Additional Scenes: 7) Regina In Bed – deleted
• Additional Scenes: 8) Norbury’s Car Explodes – extended
• Additional Scenes: 9) Cady and Regina in the Bathroom – deleted

  • Interstitials – (1:37) Commercials featuring Cady and also the Plastics showing off their way of living.

• Frenemies
• New Girl
• PSA

  • Theatrical Trailer HD – The High Definition trailer of the film (2:33)

Overall, the special features were entertaining but there is really nothing new added from the original DVD version.  Also, only the theatrical trailer gets upgraded to High Definition and everything else is standard definition (480p).

“MEAN GIRLS” is the ultimate girl power movie.  The film elevated many of the stars of the film to a higher level and also a film that showcased Tina Fey’s screenwriting ability which was known in “Saturday Night Live” but definitely a pre-cursor to bigger things for her ala “30 Rock”.

The film has a very “Heathers” type of vibe (coincidentally, “Heathers” was directed by Director Mark Waters brother Daniel) and Tina Fey’s screenplay takes Rosalind Wiseman’s original book but giving it humor but also in the end an important message.

At the time of the release of the film, having appearances by some of the “Saturday Night Live” stars was cool but there was also an American interest in Lindsay Lohan who was at the time, becoming America’s darling teen actress especially after the success of the film “Freaky Friday”.  Also, for fans of the 90’s television series “Party of Five” and watching Lacey Chabert as a child actress, “MEAN GIRLS” was the first film to see her now all grown up and looking fabulous.

The performances were well done.  Rachel McAdams as Regina “the Queen Bee” was well-done and snobby while Amanda Seyfried definitely played the stereotypical dumb blonde but in this film, her character is actually quite dimwitted.  But nevertheless, “MEAN GIRLS” definitely propelled these two actresses for more future roles.

But what made this film work was it’s good balance of humor but mostly the message.  Why do the teenage girls segregate themselves to certain groups, why do the popular girls do popular things when some can actually achieve more.  Just pretty much putting the typical high school things on the table, exposing the life of teenage girls and having people learn from it and identifying what is cool and what’s not cool.

For parents wondering why the PG-13 rating, its mainly  because of the language and underage high school teenage partying and teens making out.  So, suffice to say, depending on that type of material will determine if you want your teens (or children) to watch it.

It has been announced that “MEAN GIRLS 2” is now currently being planned and one can hope that the level of humor and fun will crossover to the sequel.  But for this first film, the film deals with constant backstabbing and manipulation but really showing how things can easily get out of hand.

Overall, “MEAN GIRLS” is an enjoyable teen comedy that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray!  Fans of the film will not be disappointed.

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