"Mean Girls" Blu-ray Review
April 10, 2009 by Zach Demeter
Unless you were in a shell for all of 2004, then you likely heard about Mean Girls. Starring Lindsay Lohan (in what was, as of this writing, her last truly profitable role), the film did gangbusters at the box office, raking in nearly eight times its budget in worldwide box office receipts. The film eventually went on to spawn some home video releases and, now, a Blu-ray release. Fans of the film quickly adapted and accepted it as the Clueless of the ‘00s—although Mean Girls certainly garnered better reviews than the aforementioned teen comedy. Still, Mean Girls offered up something that you didn’t see from teen comedies much: genuine entertainment.
Raised in the African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady (Lindsay Lohan) thinks she knows all about the "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. Trying to find her place among jocks, mathletes and other subcultures, Cady crosses the meanest species of all - the Queen Bee, aka the cool and calculating Regina (Ratchel McAdams), leader of the school's most fashionable clique, The Plastics. When Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend, though, the Queen Bee is stung - and she schemes to ruin Cady's social future. Cady's own claws soon come out as she leaps into a hilarious "Girl World" war that has the whole school running for cover.
Of course Mean Girls isn’t for everyone. I’m hardly the target audience, as the film would definitely be categorized as a “girly” movie. Which is fine, it certainly makes the genre look better as it is very well written and acted, but it definitely skews to one gender more than another. Tina Fey’s screenplay is definitely felt, however; it’s not quite as witty and unique as her 30 Rock stuff, but Mean Girls still has those signature moments that are genuinely worth letting out a hearty guffaw.
Really, the only thing that bugged me about the movie was the pacing of it. Yes, there were laughs along the way, but I honestly wasn’t laughing as much as I’d hoped. Self-deprecating humor was great among the core cast, but it was really the adult characters that I enjoyed (Tim Meadows especially…what an awesome guy). Lohan I wasn’t especially irked by, but I think I was just more burned out from hearing her name every day than I was with her acting—she really was great and filled the role of awkward teenager quite well.
Which actually brings me to another point—I cannot believe how old some of these people look in here. I’ve just recently started watching Freaks and Geeks for the first time and seeing a cast full of genuine looking teenagers is unique nowadays, as almost always these high school students are played by adults in their twenties. It’s not a big issue, but it’s noticeable when you have an entire high school body of people old enough to legally drink.
Really the film is moderately entertaining and worth seeing at least once, but the over-saturation of girl talk and situations may bore the average male viewer. I wasn’t necessarily put off by it, I just had nothing to relate to for a good ¾ of the movie, so I got less enjoyment from it. Still, it’s a fine film filled with great performances and some genuinely hilarious scenes (especially that final gym sequence).
Overall you have to fit into the films audience and if you do, then kudos—you just found yourself a new favorite film. Everyone else just looking for a generic teen comedy should possibly look elsewhere. Not that Mean Girls isn’t entertaining, it’s just not something that will have you on the floor laughing. Recommended for those who find such films entertaining, but still worth a rental even if you aren’t normally in that category.
So…yeah. Here we have a Blu-ray release of the 2004 Mean Girls and…really? Instead of releasing their big action titles like Indiana Jones or any other myriad of great films, Paramount is putting out some very, very strange catalog titles. Not to say Mean Girls doesn’t look great in 1080p, but it’s down at the bottom of the list when it comes to films that need to be on Blu-ray. Still, those interested can pick the film up in a standard Elite Blu-ray case, complete with grey wash disc art and a standard firmware upgrade notice insert.
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded 1080p transfer and being the modern production that it is, it looks great. Colors pop off the screen, blacks are nice and rich and pretty much everything about this film looks great from beginning to end. The audio, a TrueHD 5.1 mix, is also quite engaging, although the surrounds consist of just film soundtrack and high school chatter, as this isn’t exactly a film that defines aural immersion.
Extras from the previous release are all carried over and include:
Commentary by Director Mark Waters, Screenplay Writer & Actress Tina Fey, and Producer Lorne Michaels
Word Vomit (Blooper Reel) (5:44)
So Fetch - Deleted Scenes (7:01)
3 Interstitials (1:39)
Theatrical Trailer (2:35, HD)
Nothing is new here, so don’t concern yourself with upgrading to this release—unless you really, really like this film. There honestly isn’t enough about this film to warrant a double dip, simply because there are no new extras and as nice as it looks in 1080p, it just isn’t a film that exudes any real requirement for it to be on the high-definition format. I’d say maybe it’s worth it if there happened to be a rebate or something, but Paramount doesn’t do that with their titles anymore for some reason (must be a holiday season thing). In any case, Skip It -- you can watch the upscaled DVD for much, much less.
Mean Girls arrives on Blu-ray on April 14th.