Cady Heron is a cultural blank slate when she first sets foot on the grounds of North Shore High School in a small town outside of C hicago, Illinois. After living in Africa, Cady has no idea how "wild" things can be in civilization until she crosses paths with one of the meanest species of all, the "Queen Bee," who at this school is the cool and calculating Regina George. But Cady doesn't just cross paths with this Queen Bee--she really stings her when she falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels. Now Regina is set to sting back by pretending to still like Aaron so he won't go out with Cady, all the while pretending to be her friend. With no choic e but to use the same M.O. to stay in the game, the "Girl World" one-upmanship escalates until the entire school gets dragged into a first-class mean-fest.
The cutting wit of Tina Fey (the first female head writer for US comedy breeding ground Saturday Night Live
) brilliantly fuses pop culture and smart satire. Fey wrote Mean Girls
, in which a formerly home-schooled girl named Cady (Lindsay Lohan) gets dropped into the sneaky, vicious world of the Plastics, three adolescent glamour-girls who dominate their public high school's social heirarchy. Cady first befriends a couple of art-punk outsiders who persuade her to infiltrate the Plastics and destroy them from within--but power corrupts, and Cady soon finds the glory of being a Plastic to be seductive. Mean Girls
joins the ranks of Clueless
, Bring It On
, and Heathers
, cunning movies that use the hormone-pressurized high school milieu to put the dark impulses of human nature--ambition, envy, lust, revenge--under a comic microscope. Fey manages to skewer everyone without forgetting the characters' hapless humanity; it's a dazzling and delightful balancing act. --Bret Fetzer