Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this movie has some mature material for a PG-13, including crude humor, sexual references, underage drinking, and comic violence. There is a prank involving a pregnancy test. Cady allows her home to be taken over by partying teens, gets drunk, and throws up. A child watches "Girls Gone Wild" and imitates it. A girl refers to herself as "half a virgin" and there is a joke about girl-girl kissing. A strength of the movie is its positive portrayal of diverse characters, including disabled, gay, and minority students.
What's the story?
Queen Bees and Wannabes, a non-fiction book by Rosalind Wiseman about alpha girls and the impact they have on everyone else, has been adapted by Saturday Night Live head writer (and Weekend Update anchor) Tina Fey into a movie about a girl who takes on a ruling clique. Previously homeschooled by her zoologist parents while living in Africa, Cady (Lindsay Lohan) moves to Evanston, Illinois and attends high school. Cady finds herself having a hard time understanding the social norms in the school, and is drawn to the "the Plastics," the most popular clique in the school.
Is it any good?
Screenwriter Tina Fey, who appears as a sympathetic teacher, has a good sense of how girls like Regina operate to establish their domination, appearing to be sweet and supportive but in reality being competitive, duplicitous and manipulative, and always surrounding themselves with people who will add to their power and not challenge them. And Fey's superb sense of comedy gives the script has some biting humor. Her Saturday Night Live colleagues lend support to the cast, with Tim Meadows as the school principal, Ana Gasteyer as Cady's mother, and Amy Poehler superb as Regina's mother, who insists, "I'm not like a regular mom; I'm a cool mom!"
There is much that is fresh and sharp in this movie. But it has an uncertain hold on its plot and ends up pulling some of its punches and throwing in teen comedy clichés we have seen endlessly in dozens of movies that all blur together.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the elements that determine status for teenagers are different from those that determine status in the adult world, at work, and with friends and family.
Use this movie to begin a discussion about the way that the girls they know treat each other, and what they can do to encourage them to be kinder and more supportive.
Ask kids if they know any "mean girls." How do they deal with them?