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Mean Girls - Blu-ray DVD / comedy DVD review
MEAN GIRLS Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Lindsay Lohan, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Franzese, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert
Director: Mark Waters Studio: Paramount
DVD release: 14 April 2009 Runtime: 111 min.
(2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French, Portugese), Audio commentary (dir. Mark Waters, screenwriter/star Tiny Fey, prod. Lorne Michaels), "Only the Strong Survive" (making-of), "The Politics of Girl World," "Plastic Fashion," Deleted scenes, Gag reel, Theatrical trailer (HD)

I work with a woman who is leery about working with other women. Her reason for this is that women can be cruel and vicious to one another, and she'd rather avoid a close working environment with them if she can. I think this is never more true than in high school. Mean Girls is a study of this cruel phenomenon in an affluent high school in Evanston, Illinois. Amazingly, it is based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, a guidebook for parents to help their children survive school. Wiseman's book has no narrative storyline. Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey retooled Wiseman's book into a wonderful script and Mark Waters crafted that into an excellent film.

The main character is Lindsay Lohan's Cady (pronounced "Katie"), a girl who has been homeschooled up to this point while her parents worked in Africa as zoologists. She has difficulty navigating the social cliques especially evident in the lunchroom. Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) help her out. They've made maps of all the mines in the field and show Cady how to get through intact. They aren't really members of any clique but their own, having been outcast by the Plastics years before.

The Plastics are the three girls who dictate what and who are cool at the school. They consist of Regina (Rachel McAdams), the queen bee; Gretchen (Lacey Chabert), an under-confident drone; and Karen (Amanda Seyfried), a less-than-smart drone. Regina dictates the rules of attire and has Gretchen and Karen controlled in nearly every aspect of their lives. They can't date someone unless Regina says it's okay, and she's a master at manipulation. People fear and hate her, but when she shows them some nicety, even if it's underhanded or insincere, they feel blessed.

One day, Cady is invited to eat lunch with the Plastics as sort of an interview to join them. Cady's not much interested in the prospect, but Janis and Damian encourage her to nurture the friendship so they can pull some pranks on Regina. For a while this plan works for them, but eventually Cady begins to take on a plastic sheen herself, alienating her true friends.

Mean Girls is brilliantly written, acted and directed, entertaining and nerve-wrackingly accurate. I remember hearing compliments from girls in school which seemed genuine but probably had teeth. I'm glad to be beyond that sort of emotional abuse, but it's interesting to see it in this format, from the safety of my couch and casual attire.

Extra features include making-of featurettes, commentaries and deleted scenes, though none are HD-exclusive. The Blu-ray translation of Mean Girls looks great and sounds great as well. It's an excellent film that I will enjoy viewing over and over.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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