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Cruel intentions: Loser teens burst alpha girls' Plastic bubble

Santa claws: Mean Girls
photo: Michael Gibson/Paramount Pictures

Daughter of zoologists, bemusedly angelic Cady (Lindsay Lohan) goes from home tutoring in "the African bush" to high school in suburban Chicago, where she immediately falls in with the scowly artiste and the witty, overweight gay guy, who set Cady on an undercover mission to infiltrate the Plastics, a consortium of high priestesses led by terrifying alpha girl Regina (Rachel McAdams); but to paraphrase a Quasi song, if you play a Plastic long enough, it's just what you become. Director Waters and screenwriter Tina Fey (also cast as the voice-of-reason math teacher) aim less for the usual high-gloss caricature than acutely hilarious sociology, nailing the servile malice of 15-year-old girls, the voodoo art of sparkly-eyed mindfuck (Regina tells Cady she's pretty, Cady bashfully thanks her, Regina fires back, "So you think you're pretty?"), and the lunch-table caste system: Emeritus losers will wince with recognition when Cady takes her meal in a bathroom stall rather than face the infernal maw also known as the school cafeteria.


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