4K Blu-ray Review: Mean Girls (20th Anniversary Edition)

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

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I’m not sure about how you use your Netflix subscription, but me? I use it to log in and add movies to “My List” because they’re movies that I’m genuinely interested in watching – and yet I never get around to doing so. My list continues to grow every time I log onto Netflix, but for some reason when I log in I can never decide which of the many movies I’ve added I’m in the mood for. Then, after spending far too long going through them (and somehow adding even more to the list), I’ll log off having watched nothing and the cycle will continue.

My list extends outside of Netflix as well, with movies I mentally take note of seeing, but again, some just keep getting pushed to the backburner for one reason or another. Mean Girls is one of those movies that was on my list as far back as 2004 when it came out, and yet here I find myself two decades later having only just watched it for the first time in its new 4K release. There are pros and cons to this, with the main con being that I couldn’t help make “Fetch” happen and now I’m pretty sure it never will.

The pros are that while Mean Girls was hugely popular in 2004 and has a massive fanbase to this day, I was able to watch this 20-year-old comedy with fresh eyes to see how the jokes and story holds up today as someone who has no nostalgic attachment to it at all. So did it pass the test? Not only did it pass, but it received bonus points for an excessive amount of laugh-out-loud moments and just being a feel good movie with a moral to the story that is timeless.

For those who may not know the story centers around Cady (pronounced like Katie and played by Lindsay Lohan), who has been homeschooled her whole life by her parents while living abroad in Africa, now heads into a new, possibly even more threatening jungle: North Shore High School. Having trouble fitting in Cady is befriended by Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) who help break down the different groups that the students naturally break off into. They warn her specifically about “The Plastics,” a trio of girls who sit at the top of the social food chain. The Plastics consist of Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) and their ringleader, Regina George (Rachel McAdams).

Regina finds a pet project in Cady and wants her to eat lunch with them – a prestigious, almost unheard of offering. As much as they loathe The Plastics, Janis and Damian tell Cady that she has to accept the offer so that she can gather information on them so that Janis can get revenge on Regina for something Regina did to her years back. Cady doesn’t think Regina is that bad, but agrees nonetheless. Oh, and I didn’t mention yet that Cady also has a crush on a guy in her calculus class who just happens to be Regina’s ex-boyfriend!!

Yes, there’s drama abound in this fantastic and wildly hilarious screenplay by Tina Fey. I knew that Mean Girls was a hugely popular film, and sometimes that kind of hype actually hurts a movie if it takes someone too long to get around to it. That wasn’t the case here, as I really had no expectations one way or the other going in, yet found myself laughing consistently, and fully engrossed in all that was going down on the screen.

Yes, the script by Fey is excellent, but without top tier acting it can all fall to pieces. Lohan is phenomenal. Cady is innocent, yet when corrupted by popularity and peer pressure she’s believable as someone who could easily be the next Regina if not careful and Lohan nails it. Also, when she feels true betrayal for the first time by someone she thought was a friend it’s one of the best scenes in the movie, as her emotion and delivery of that pain just feels real.

The supporting cast is just as spot-on, with McAdams destroying the role of a queen bee who feels on top of the world, only to realize that the kingdom she’s built is all but a house of cards. Chabert is wonderful as the holder of all secrets, and then there’s Seyfried, who plays stupid so smartly that I’m not sure the role of Karen could ever be done better. Fey also has a role as math teacher Ms. Norbury, and she’s such a comedy master that she knows how to shine when needed, but not bright enough to ever steal the spotlight. Then there’s also Tim Meadows, who plays the school’s principal Mr. Duvall and masterfully delivers the lines he’s given to work with.

I could continue but I think you get the idea that everyone did amazing work here and the movie excelled because of it. What’s also great is that as mentioned prior the moral of this story is timeless, and Fey and director Mark Waters have told it in a way that it can be watched today and outside of a few technological advancements, the core of the tale remains the same. Fey thought of the idea for Mean Girls after reading the self-help book, “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman, which talks about high school cliques, bullying and the effects all of that can have on teenagers at such an influential time. Fey took that and turned it into arguably one of the best movies about life in high school, and one – that even after 20-years – doesn’t need a makeover of any sort because it’s perfect the way it is.

4K Blu-ray Video and Audio Review:

Mean Girls gets the 4K treatment here for its 20th anniversary gift and it’s totally fetch. Well, maybe not totally, but it’s a solid remastering with a Dolby Vision presentation that brings the film to new generations in the best looking way yet for home viewing. This is a fun, vibrant film and the colours match throughout. In some of the darker, night or party scenes everything still looks clean and clear with deep blacks and colours that pop. There are plenty of details to catch in the variety of clothing, as well as the sets. There’s never a moment of distraction or distortion, which is always front and center for me when looking to purchase a 4K upgrade of a movie, so if you own the Blu-ray and are looking to celebrate 20-years there’s no better way to do it than to treat yourself to the latest and greatest.

On the audio side of things Paramount kept the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack from the previous Blu-ray release. It’s nothing to write home about, but it does the trick as the dialogue is always clear, front and center, and the party and school scenes have a nice ambience about them with a surround setup. Nothing that’ll rock your house, but that’s not really going to happen regardless with a film like this.

Special Features:

Mean Girls: Class of ’04 – We’ve got one new feature that sees Fey and the new cast and crew looking back at the original film, why it became such a cultural hit and why it holds strong today. It’s just over 8-minutes in length, so it’s a quick watch for those interested.

Legacy Features:

Audio Commentary – We’ve got a solid commentary track here with Director Mark Waters, Tina Fey, and Producer Lorne Michaels. A solid listen that fans should definitely check out from those who know the movie best.

Only the Strong Survive – This is a 25-minute feature that focuses on the life of teenage girls in high school, the various representations of characters throughout the movie and so forth. Another solid watch for those interested in learning a bit more about what went into the movie.

The Politics of Girl World – This feature comes in at just over 10-minutes and focuses on the politics of cliques in high school. Whether you were in one or not you know they existed in some form or fashion where you went to high school and nothing has changed.

Plastic Fashion – This 10-minute feature focuses on the fashion found within the film.

Word Vomit – Here we get various outtakes in a 6-minute gag reel.

So Fetch: Deleted Scenes – We’ve got nine deleted scenes for those who enjoy checking out what hit the cutting room floor.


Paramount Pictures Presents Mean Girls. Directed by: Mark Waters. Written by: Tina Fey. Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Jonathan Bennett, Tina Fey, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Franzese, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, Neil Flynn. Running time: 97 Minutes. Rating: PG. Released on 4K Blu-ray: April 30, 2024.

Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.