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MEAN GIRLS

MEAN GIRLS ($30) is probably the best depiction of that level of hell known as the high school social structure since HEATHERS- one of the sharpest and most biting black comedies of the 1980’s. Although MEAN GIRLS may not have teeth quite as sharp as HEATHERS (in terms of an actual body count), this doesn’t mean the movie’s comic claws are ready to go for the jugular. Featuring a sharply honed and funny screenplay by SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE alumnus Tina Fey, MEAN GIRLS tells the story of a babe in the woods forced to apply the laws of the jungle to the high school microcosm. MEAN GIRLS stars Lindsay Lohan as Cady, a home schooled teenager raised in Africa by her zoologist parents, whose first social interaction with average American teenagers is inside the unforgiving world of a middle American high school.

Socially retarded, Cady is initially befriended by Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese), neither of whom appears on the school’s social "A" list. However, because of her natural good looks, Cady is also invited into the social circle of The Plastics- Regina (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried), the school’s three most beautiful, most popular, most emulated and most feared girls. Of course, Janis and Damian see Cady’s invitation as an opportunity to destroy The Plastics from within, so they encourage her to infiltrate the group. Once Cady comes to understand the rules of the game she becomes an even better manipulator than The Plastics Queen Bee, Regina, but Cady then begins to fall into the dangerous trap of reveling in her own newly found popularity. The cast of MEAN GIRLS also features Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Neil Flynn, Jonathan Bennett and Rajiv Surendra.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made MEAN GIRLS available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a really nice looking transfer, which provides one with nothing to complain about. The image generally appears rather sharp and produces very good definition. Some soft shots creep in here and there, but they never detract from the presentation. Colors appear bright and produce good saturation, with very appealing flesh tones. Blacks are decidedly inky, while the whites are crisp and clean. Contrast appears smooth and the picture produces a good level of shadow detail. The film elements used for the transfer are free from blemishes, although there is occasional mild grain in the picture. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is of the fairly standard comedy variety, with a dominant forward soundstage and respectable augmentation from the rear channel. There is a nice lively quality to many sequences and there are some clever sound deployments across the front; however, surround junkies will find the back channels to be a bit weak, as ambient sounds and musical fill are the most often heard components. Fidelity is always first rate, with the sound effects coming across in a convincing manner and the music having good body. Dialogue is sharp and always completely understandable. The bass channel doesn’t have much to do, but things never sound thin. A French 5.1 channel and English Dolby Surround tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice complement of supplements. Starting things off is a fairly enjoyable running audio commentary with writer/actress Tina Fey, director Mark Waters and producer Lorne Michaels. Next up are three featurettes: Only The Strong Survive- a twenty four minute making of, Plastic Fashion- a ten minute look at the film’s costume design and wardrobe, The Politics of Girl World- ten minutes with Queen Bees And Wannabes author Rosalind Wiseman, whose book was the basis for the film. Word Vomit offers five minutes worth of bloopers. There are nine deleted scenes that can be viewed with or without the comments of Mark Waters and Tina Fey. A Theatrical Trailer, 3 Interstitials (TV promos) and previews for Paramount theatrical/DVD titles close out the supplements.

MEAN GIRLS is a sharp and funny teen comedy that is head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Paramount’s widescreen DVD looks great and sounds just fine, so if you are interested in checking out MEAN GIRLS this disc is definitely the best way to do it.

 

MEAN GIRLS 


Mean Girls (Widescreen Edition) (2004)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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