Girls is a 2004
film written by (and co-starring) Tina Fey. It stars Lindsay
Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert and Rachel McAdams and
featured several Saturday Night Live cast members,
including Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, and Amy Poehler.
Waters described the movie as "Clueless meets Heathers",
the latter of which was written by his brother, Daniel Waters.
It was based on the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes
by Rosalind Wiseman, which describes how female high
school social cliques operate, and the effect they can have
Girls - Movie poster
movie centers round 16 year-old Cady (pronounced Kay-Dee) Heron
(played by Lindsay
Lohan) who moves to Evanston, Illinois, a Chicago suburb,
after being raised in Africa
by her zoologist parents. Cady's family moved there after her
mother received tenure at Northwestern University.
She begins attending North Shore High School, where she meets
Damian and Janis. Damian (Daniel Franzese) is "almost too
gay to function," and Janis (Lizzy Caplan) is artistic and
somewhat alternative; neither are very popular. She later
encounters The Plastics (Regina George, the Queen Bee, played by
Rachel McAdams; Gretchen Weiners, the gossiper, played by Lacey
Chabert; and Karen Smith, the dumb blonde, played by Amanda
Seyfried) - three beautiful and popular girls who invite Cady to
become their friend.
reluctant, Cady joins the group so she can learn their dark
secrets at the behest of Damian and Janis. However, when Cady
becomes infatuated with Regina's ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels
(played by Jonathan Bennett), Regina reinforces her Queen Bee
status by reclaiming him. Cady, Damian, and Janis plot together
to bring Regina down and remove her from her high social status.
Janis refers to Regina as an "evil dictator" and asks
Cady, "How do you overthrow a dictator? You cut off her
resources." Janis defines these resources to be Regina's
"technically good physique" (hot body), "high
status man candy" (Aaron Samuels), and her "loyal band
of ignorant followers" (Army of Skanks).
first their attempts don't work, and in fact only make Regina
more popular; but Janis, Cady, and Damian finally succeed. Much
to Cady's surprise, Gretchen and Karen turn to her as their new
Queen Bee. Her newfound popularity, with its attendant status
and power, goes to Cady's head and she unwittingly emulates
Regina's behavior. Events come to a climax at a party Cady
throws while her parents are out of town. She tells her parents
she wants to stay behind to go to Janis' art show, and tells
Janis and Damian she is going out of town with her parents.
Originally meant to be a small affair designed to bring her
closer to Aaron, the party quickly grows out of control. Cady
gets drunk at the party, admits to Aaron that she faked being
bad at calculus to attract his attention, and then vomits on
him. He leaves in disgust just as Janis and Damian pull up in a
car, outraged that she lied to them. Janis screams at Cady that
she has become Plastic, then drives off with Damian. Regina also
arrives at the party and vows revenge.
key to her plan is the Burn Book, originally created by The
Plastics, which contains mean (sometimes accurate) observations
and "burns" of most of the girls in their grade and
some of their teachers. She plants a picture of herself in the
book and tearfully turns it over to the school's principal, Mr.
Duvall (played by Tim Meadows), noting that Cady, Gretchen, and
Karen are the only girls not in it. The three are called to his
office and asked to confess, but the meeting is interrupted when
his assistant runs in, exclaiming, "The girls have gone
wild!" It's shown that Regina has photocopied every page of
the book and distributed the copies throughout the school so
that they can be discovered by the people they lampoon. The
girls begin rioting, fighting each other viciously until Mr.
Duvall breaks a fire alarm to set off the sprinklers. He orders
all junior girls to report to the gymnasium, where the entire
class seems to have fallen for Regina's frame job. They shun
Duvall attempts to deal with the cliques that have formed and
"girl" problems, but is derailed by a girl who
misinterprets his invitation to discuss their problems and
describes her menstrual
period. Ms. Norbury (played by Tina Fey) begins a seminar to
get the girls to confront their problems directly. Each of the
cliques is plagued by infighting, unspoken feelings of
resentment, and strong distrust. The girls then must write
apologies to each other and read aloud them to the whole grade.
Cady cannot do this without admitting that she wrote about Ms.
Norbury in the Burn Book; she goes to the back of the line,
prompting Janis to angrily get up in front of the grade and
scrap her original apology in favor of a thinly-veiled tirade
about Cady. She reveals all the tricks they played on Regina
over the year; hearing this, Regina storms out of the gym. Cady
follows her to apologize, but Regina cuts her off, angrily
telling Cady that she is worse than herself because she attempts
to maintain a facade of innocence despite her actions as Queen
Bee. In the middle of her rant, Regina gets hit by a bus.
revelation of the Burn Book and the accident convince Cady that
she must "suck all the poison out of [her] life",
comparing her situation to receiving a snake bite. She
apologizes first to Regina, who has received a severe spinal
injury and apologizes to Ms. Norbury for her false Burn Book
entry. Ms. Norbury accepts her apology, but adds one last
penance: Cady must participate in the Mathletes (the school's
math team) state finals, which takes place the same day as the
Spring Fling dance.
ends up breaking a tie and winning the final for North Shore
High. Ms. Norbury encourages her to go to the dance despite
being grounded, and the Mathletes arrive at the Spring Fling in
time for Mr. Duvall to announce Cady as Spring Fling Queen.
Surprised, she takes the stage to apologize one last time to
everyone. She discusses the Queen's crown, and says that it is
only plastic and of no real worth. She asks for Janis and
Damian's forgiveness in person, and they agree to forget about
their fight. She breaks the queen's crown into pieces, throws it
into the audience, and the dance resumes. Aaron asks her for a
dance and they kiss.
the beginning of Cady's senior year, the turmoil of her junior
year has subsided. Regina has made a full recovery and her
physical therapist has taught her to channel all her anger into
sports; namely, lacrosse. The other Plastics have moved on.
Gretchen has made friends with the 'cool Asians', Karen is a
weather girl for the school's news channel, and Cady is content
to be an average high school student. The film ends on a rather
ominous note, hinting at a new generation of Plastics in the new
an interview about the film, Fey noted, "Adults find it
funny. They are the ones who are laughing. Young girls watch it
like a reality show. It's much too close to their real
experiences so they are not exactly guffawing" .
the movie was inspired by the book Queen Bees and Wannabes
by Rosalind Wiseman, another non-fiction book for teens, Mean
Girls: Facing Your Beauty Turned Beast authored by Hayley
DiMarco, was released at the same time as the movie. DiMarco had
previously written Dateable: Are You? Are They? and is
credited with creating the Biblezine concept while at Thomas
Nelson Publishers. Characters and behaviors in the movie are
based on Tina Fey's high school life at Upper Darby High School.
"Mean Girls" - classic split screen telephone sequence
Lohan) - The main character of the film. Cady has just
moved to North Shore High School after spending her whole
life being homeschooled in Africa. She first makes friends
with Janis and Damian, but is invited to eat lunch (and thus
be friends with) the Plastics. She also develops a crush on
Aaron Samuels, who is Regina's ex-boyfriend. When Regina
betrays Cady by taking Aaron back, she concocts a plan with
her other friends to get even. Despite her anger at Regina,
Cady eventually gets caught up in the world of the Plastics.
She is also really good at math and joins Mathletes at the
end of the film.
George (Rachel McAdams) - Regina is "Teen
royalty" and the leader of the Plastics. She is both
feared and desperately admired by the other female students,
who gossip about her supposedly fabulous life and are
pleased to be physically assaulted by Regina. She also has a
tendency to compliment others and then insult them behind
their backs. Regina is very rich and spoiled by her parents.
Throughout the film she claims she wants to lose 3 lbs.
Apparently she has had a nose job and was once best friends
with Janis (before blowing her off for a boy and claiming
she is a lesbian.)
When she realizes Cady is stealing her life, she spreads the
Burn Book around and is eventually hit by a bus. In senior
year, she takes up sports to use up her rage. Regina dates
Aaron Samuels and Shane Oman.
Ian (Lizzy Caplan) - Sarcastic and artistic, Janis is
one of Cady's first friends at North Shore. She loathes the
Plastics (especially Regina) and is best friends with
Damian. In Middle School, she was best friends with Regina,
who later claimed Janis was a lesbian when she became upset
they were no longer spending time together (as a result of
Regina's first boyfriend). Regina told everyone Janis was a
lesbian, causing her to drop out of school for a period and
coming back completely different. At the end of the film she
begins dating Kevin Gnapoor.
Wieners (Lacey Chabert) - Gretchen is one of the
Plastics, and possibly Regina's closest friend (or at least
confidante). She is very wealthy because her father invented
toaster strudel. Partially as a result of Cady, Janis and
Damian's scheme, she begins to crack, spilling many of
Regina's deepest secrets in anger at being treated badly by
her friend. Throughout the film, she likes Jason, a
flirtatious pervert. In senior year, she dyes her hair,
and hangs out with the "cool asians" so she can
continue her life as a "worker bee".
(Daniel Franzese) - Damian is described by Janis as
"too gay to function". He is best friends with
Janis and later good friends with Cady. He is in the student
planning committee and enjoys singing. Damian has no qualms
about using the woman's bathroom, and goes to the girl's
workshop in disguise.
Smith (Amanda Seyfried) - Damian claims Karen is the
"dumbest girl you'll ever meet". She is failing
almost everything and claims her breasts can predict the
weather (although she usually predicts the current
weather). Karen also mentions that she thinks her cousin is
a good kisser, believing it to be okay as she thinks the
order of relations is "cousin, first cousin, second
cousin..." She turns against Regina when she discovers
Regina thinks she is a slut and begins following Cady (along
Norbury (Tina Fey) - Ms. Norbury is Cady's calculus
teacher. At the beginning of the film she reveals that she
recently was divorced from her husband. When it is revealed
Cady wrote that she was a drug pusher in the Burn Book, she
has to be investigated by the police. She is also the
supervisor for the Mathletes, and orchestrates the junior
Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) - Aaron is a senior and
becomes Cady's crush. He used to date Regina before she
broke up with him, but they get back together (later
breaking up when he discovers she was cheating on him).
Aaron plays soccer and likes Cady, but becomes angry when he
learns she lied about being bad at calculus and saying he
had been Regina's property. At the end of the movie, he
forgives Cady and they begin dating.
Duvall (Tim Meadows) - Mr. Duvall is the principal of
North Shore. Throughout the film he has to wear a cast
because he developed carpal
tunnel. He attempts to make the girls understand each
other when the Burn Book is revealed, but quickly passes it
over to Ms Norbury when he realizes "girl
problems" may be too much for him.
Carr (Dwayne Hill) - He is generally shown teaching
health class, expressly demanding his students not to have
sex (as it will ultimately lead to them becoming pregnant
and dying). He is also caught making out with Trang Pak, but
has also been seen with Sun Jin Dinh.
Seyfried, Lindsay Lohan and
Chabert (l-r) in Mean Girls (2004)
the film, the following cliques are mentioned:
(Junior Varsity) Jocks
Nerds (e.g. Tim Pak)
Asians (e.g. Trang Pak, Sun Jinh Dinh)
Jocks (e.g. Jason)
Who Eat Their Feelings (Overweight/Obese)
Who Don't Eat Anything (Anorexic)
Active Band Geeks (e.g. Kristen Hadley and, perhaps, an
homage to the pervasive effects of that other Teen Movie
Fave, American Pie)
Wannabes (e.g. Bethany Byrd, Jessica Lopez)
(e.g. Amber D'Alessio)
Greatest People You'll Ever Meet (e.g. Janis, Damian, Cady
Heron, among others) (Although this clique, minus Cady, is
refered to as the Art Freaks by the Plastics)
Plastics (The Worst Of The Lot, according to Janis) (e.g.
Regina George, Karen Smith, Gretchen Wieners, and for a
short time, Cady Heron)
clique has its own cafeteria fracture table, as seen in a
montage narrated by Janis.
movie was declared a moderate hit after its opening weekend made
the film $24.4 million dollars and the #1 position at 2,839
theaters. Mean Girls had a long life at the box office
and finished its run with $86,058,055. In its second weekend in
theaters, the movie had a drop-off in ticket sales of 44% and
26% the following week.
grossed $86,058,055 in the United States, making it Lindsay
Lohan's second highest-grossing film to date.
was Lohan's first non-Disney
Poehler is only 5 years older than Rachel McAdams, who plays
sequel is mentioned by Tina Fey very briefly in the special
feature of the DVD, but it is likely it's only a joke.
Chabert was the only choice for the role of Gretchen.
Fey admits that she was drawn to Jonathan Bennett to play
Aaron Samuels because of his strong resemblance to her Saturday
Night Live castmate Jimmy Fallon.
Seyfried, who plays Karen in the film, originally auditioned
for the role of Regina, but producer Lorne Michaels felt she
may be better suited for "the dumb one."
Tisdale, who is a good friend of Lindsay Lohan, tried out
for the role of Karen but lost it to Amanda Seyried.
Meadows broke his wrist prior to shooting the movie, so Mr.
Duvall's carpal tunnel syndrome had to be written into the
the gymnasium confessional, Tim Meadows says "Who has a
lady problem that they'd like to talk about?", a
reference to his character "Leon Phelps" on SNL.
movie is listed as Mariah Carey's favorite movie on her
poster of Mariah Carey's single "Can't Take That Away
(Mariah's Theme)" is on Damian's wall in a scene.
has caught on out of irony, as a sarcastic criticism of new
high school in the film, North Shore High School, is
fictional. The real high school is located in 353 N.
Castlegory in Houston Texas. However, the Walker Brothers'
Pancake House (which Cady wins coupons to in the movie) is a
real pancake house in the Chicagoland area. Old Orchard Mall
also exists, although it is an outdoor mall, not indoors as
protrayed in the film.
means "Queen" in Latin and Regina is the
television program House makes an oblique reference to Mean
Girls in the season 2 episode House vs. God:
"How many times can you hit pause at the part where
Lindsay Lohan wins the spelling bee? What is it about girls
who can spell?"
"It's a math contest."
"What is it about girls who can count?"
leader of the Asian Nerds (Tim Pak) is the brother of the
Cool Asians leader (Trang Pak).
Pak has a Korean lastname and speaks Vietnamese.
the DVD case, Cady is said to be 15, but she says that she
is 16 in the movie.
the UK reality TV show, Big Brother 7, Canadian Richard
Newman labelled fellow housemates "The Plastics."
When confronted by returning housemates Grace Adams-Short
and Nikki Grahame about the label, he revealed it to be a
reference to the film, which he considered to be his
favorite. This was later confirmed during the final day of
the show ten days later, when presenter Davina McCall asked
him about the name. He referred each contestant who was
labelled "plastic" to the characters of the film.
the US, the film was originally given an R rating, due to
its sexual material. Director Mark Waters edited down
content, so the MPAA would give the film a PG-13 rating.
#12 on Entertainment Weekly's list of 50 Best High School
film takes place in Evanston, Illinois, but was filmed in Toronto,
in Malvern Collegiate Institute's auditorium, Etobicoke
Collegiate Institute as the rest of the school, and the
University of Toronto's Convocation Hall for the math
mall scene was filmed in Sherway Gardens located in
fountain featured in Sherway Gardens (where Cady depicts
teenagers acting like animals) was actually a set prop as
that area is normally vacant with no fountain. Otherwise
that space would be used to showcase fashion shows, art
displays or any special event the mall would hold (i.e. Christmas
décor and a North Pole where children can meet Santa
Meadows states in an interview that he doesn't know his
character, Mr. Duvall's first name. However, a nameplate on
his desk shows the name 'Ron Duvall'. Also, when Joan the
secretary finds all the girls fighting over comments in the
burn book, she exclaims "Ron, they've gone wild, the
girls have gone wild!"
bus that hit or nearly hit the girls multiple times was a
supposed spin off from one of the death scenes in Final
George: [serving the plastics fruit drinks]
Hey, you guys! Happy hour is from four to six!
Cady: Um, is there alcohol in this?
Mrs. George: Oh, god, honey no! What kind of mother
do you think I am? Why, do you want a little bit? Because if
you're going to drink, I'd rather you do it in the house.
learning Cady is home-schooled] "But you're, like,
Regina:"So you agree?"
Regina:"You think you're really pretty?"
Cady:"Oh... I don't know"
you're from Africa, why are you white?"
Gretchen:"Oh my God, Karen, you can't just ask
people why they're white."
not stupid, Karen."
Karen:"No, I am actually. I'm failing almost
Cady:"Well... there must be something you're
Karen:"I can stick my whole fist in my mouth!
Cady:"No no no... Anything else?"
Karen:"Well... I'm kinda psychic. I have a fifth
Cady:"What do you mean?"
Karen:"It's like I have ESPN or something. My
breasts can always tell when it's going to rain."
Cady:"Really? That's amazing."
Karen:"Well... they can tell when it's
The other girls look at Cady, expecting her to join in
complaining about herself, too].
have really bad breath in the morning..."
Duvall:"Now what the young ladies in this grade
need is an attitude makeover. And you're gonna get it, right
now. I don't care how long it takes. I will keep you here
Joan (the secretary):"We can't keep 'em past
Mr. Duvall: [without skipping a beat]"I will
keep you here until four."
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