How much longer can the teen comedy Mean Girls remain relevant, relatable and quotable? Just ask Plastics infiltrator and reluctant mathlete Cady Heron and she’ll tell you: “The limit does not exist.” Penned by Saturday Night Live alum Tina Fey, directed by Mark Waters and starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried in career-launching roles, the 2004 film has evolved from a high school movie about fitting in into an undisputed icon of pop culture — complete with a full-blown musical version that opened on Broadway last year.
Mariah Carey wrote the song “Obsessed” about it. Ariana Grande parodied it in her video for “thank u, next.” The Obama White House referenced it in a tweet referring to the family dog (“Bo, stop trying to make fetch happen”). Fans far and wide wear pink on October 3rd (even if it doesn’t fall on a Wednesday) in observance of unofficial National Mean Girls Day. The Internet is chock-full of Mean Girls memes and GIFs that further cement its myriad soundbites in our pop cultural consciousness: “Get in, loser. We’re going shopping.” “Why are so obsessed with me?” “Boo, you whore.” “My breasts can always tell when it’s gonna rain.” “Is butter a carb?” “You go, Glen Coco.” “I’m a mouse, duh!”
Based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes as well as Fey’s own experiences attending Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania, Mean Girls follows formerly home-schooled Cady Heron as she navigates her cliquish new surroundings at North Shore High School outside Chicago. After being welcomed by outcasts Janis Ian and Damian Leigh (who’s “almost too gay to function”), Cady falls in with the Plastics, a bratty clique that annihilates fellow students in an insult-riddled Burn Book. Fueled by a revenge plot devised by Janis, Cady successfully infiltrates the Plastics but she loses the plot — and herself — amid her efforts to dethrone queen bee Regina George and win the favor of her underlings Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith. As Fey explained to the Hollywood Reporter after the premiere of Mean Girls on Broadway, there’s an important message beneath the bitchiness. “Mean Girls is not just a story about women being bitches. With the musical, we were able to push its message a little further — which is the idea that we can all be kinder to one another.”
Once summed up by the Daily Beast as a “catch phrase-sprouting, star-making, generation-defining phenomenon,” Mean Girls returns to the screen on Friday courtesy of Slab Cinema’s “Girls Night Out!” event celebrating the film’s 15th anniversary. Co-hosted by La Villita and the Center City Development & Operations Department, the free outdoor screening includes food truck fare and beverages available for purchase — “Pets, pink shirts and quoting allowed.”
Free, 8:30pm Fri, La Villta, Plaza Juarez, 418 Villita St., (210) 212-9373, facebook.com.
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