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Country: United States
Starring: Meaghan Martin, Tim Meadows, Jennifer Stone, Maiara Walsh, Diego Boneta, Nicole Anderson, Claire Holt,
Director: Melanie Mayron
Run time: 96 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Related review: Mean Girls
The first Mean Girls was formulaic. New girl comes to new town, attends new high school. That school is run by hot, nasty girls who embrace the new girl because she’s pretty. The new girl quickly discovers that her new friends actually suck, because they’re mean. But she gets sucked into their meanness, becomes mean herself, then realizes her mistake and finds redemption roll credits.
What made Mean Girls good, though, was that it rose above the formula thanks to a terrific cast (Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, Lindsay Lohan) and a magnificent, pointed and funny screenplay from Tina Fey. Yeah, it was cartoonish – cheerleaders, jocks, nerds and artsy folk fit nicely into the idiotic stereotypes that don’t really exist in real high schools. There’s another movie with great writing and cartoonish high school cliques out now – Easy A is wonderful. Just wanted to throw a plug in for that one…
Now to Mean Girls 2. The movie keeps the formula. It keeps Tim Meadows. And it keeps absolutely nothing else from the first one. (And unlike Easy A, where NOT being a virgin makes Emma Stone the subject of ridicule, in Mean Girls 2 Meaghan Martin is made the subject of ridicule because she IS a virgin. Hmm. High school, huh?)
The script is no longer funny, sharp or poignant. The stars are gone, replaced by Meaghan Martin as the new girl who must contend with the “plastics” and Maiara Walsh as the leader of the mean-girl “plastic” squad. The formula stays firmly in place.
New girl arrives at school. Meaghan Martin (who really is, easily, the best thing about this movie) arrives at a new school. She’s not gonna fit in with the cool girls, cause she’s all into NASCAR and auto mechanics and shop class and stuff. She just wants to keep her head down, finish school, earn an architecture scholarship and go to the college of her dreams.
The mean girls draw her in. This time, Jo (Martin) is not drawn in TO the plastics themselves, but rather into a battle against them when she sees the awful girls picking on hapless Abby (Jennifer Stone). Jo is nice to Abby, and they become friends.
A moral dilemma crops up. Abby’s father is desperate for his daughter to have good, strong friends and thinks Jo might be one. So he offers her a ton of money (money she desperately needs for college) to be friends with Abby. Now, Jo was going to be Abby’s friend anyway, and there really is no reason for this – except that it is a convenient and easy way to shoehorn a conflict between the friends into the plot later on.
The war begins. The mean girls start to hate Jo, partly because she is nice to Abby (and NO ONE is to be nice to Abby…for some reason), and partly because boys think she’s hot. And she IS hot. So…what’s the problem? I guess the problem is that only THREE people in the whole school are allowed to be seen as attractive. After all, there are only THREE mean girls.
The war is ON. Jo decides to fight back against the mean girls, cause they have gone too far. She enlists the help of Abby and some other nerdy kids who have of course had enough of the Plastics and are willing to help. Most of this back-and-forth involves gluing people to seats, slipping them vomit drugs, and messing with their science projects. None of it involves me laughing. And this is a comedy, I think. At least the box says it is.
Self-realization. Jo realizes that she has become just as bad as the Mean Girls (remember – the title?) she has been fighting against. She may well snap out of it just in time – but that won’t end the vicious war.
Things come to a head. Mandi (Walsh), the leader of the Mean Girls, decides to get rid of Jo once and for all, so she frames her for stealing the school dance charity money. And at the same time Jo returns the money to Abby’s father but gets found out and Abby hateshateshates her! Oh, it’s all so convenient!
The final showdown. The good guys win. The bad guys lose. True friends reveal themselves, all past bad deeds are forgiven, Jesus and apple pie return to high school in Small Town USA. And it all happens thanks to…a football game? Wait, what? A football game? There has been no mention of football whatsoever in the rest of the film. It’s totally silly to introduce it now, to give the movie its climax, unless…
The final nine minutes of Mean Girls 2 look as though they have been inspired by that Lingerie Bowl – you know that thing they used to do with hot models at half time of the Super Bowl? Hot high school girls in unreasonably short skirts tackling each other…the last nine minutes of Mean Girls 2 help it earn an extra TWO stars from me! Two for Meaghan Martin, who I really like, and two for the totally insane, gratuitous, vaguely creepy titillation it provides for absolutely no reason just before the credits roll.