Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/Canada, 2004. Paramount Pictures, M.G. Films, Broadway Video. Screenplay by Tina Fey, based on the book Queen Bees And Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Cinematography by Daryn Okada. Produced by Lorne Michaels. Music by Rolfe Kent. Production Design by Cary White. Costume Design by Mary Jane Fort. Film Editing by Wendy Greene Bricmont.
A fresh-faced sixteen year-old girl (Lindsay Lohan) who has spent her life home-schooled in Africa is brought back to the States and put into a public school for the first time. She immediately befriends both misfits and in-crowders, plus falls for the cutest boy in school (Jonathan Bennett) who sits right in front of her in math class. The leader of the cool girls (Rachel McAdams) has no intention of letting the new girl fall for this boy, who is also her ex-boyfriend, and so finds a way to ruin Lohan’s chances with him and win him back for herself. Not one to take it lightly, Lohan decides to work undercover and pretend to continue being friends with the hip chicks while secretly plotting revenge. Alas, she has a Shock Corridor experience, and while pretending to be a resident of the insanely cool asylum ends up becoming a real inmate. This above-average teen comedy has a pretty lightweight effect overall, but it is boosted by a wise script by Tina Fey that points out how absolutely unimportant and ineffective all this rivalry and competition ends up being in the long run. The girls aren’t the usual innocent vs. evil scream queens, but instead are just a bunch of insecure kids who have absolutely no idea how to relate to each other; in the end, Fey’s writing allows them to get rid of their fear of each other and, ultimately, themselves (her lecture scene in the gym lays it out a bit too broadly, but subtlety would be wasted on the film’s target audience). Also helping things along are the talents of the incredibly natural Lohan, whose instincts are always correct, and the wonderful Lacey Chabert as one of the more earnest of the cool girls, who steals every scene she’s in. Fey, whose screenplay is based on Rosalind Wiseman’s book Queen Bees and Wannabes, co-stars as one of the school’s teachers, and the film also stars her SNL alumnae Ana Gasteyer and Tim Meadows.