Movie Review: Mean Girls 2 (2011)

Synopsis: After losing her mother when she was very young, Jo Mitchell has moved around with her father, race car engine builder, her whole life and after attending many different schools, has a set of rules against making friends and getting involved in "girl drama." This includes her latest school, North Shore High School, which is ruled by "the Plastics" and their leader, Mandi Weatherly. However, when she learns her father can't afford tuition to her preferred college, Jo accepts payment from Sidney Hanover to befriend his unpopular daughter, Abby, one of Mandi's preferred victims. This brings Jo in direct conflict with the Plastics while, at the same time, improves her popularity and encourages her to break even more rules.

Who's in it? The movie stars Meaghan Martin, Maiara Walsh, Claire Holt, Nicole Gale Anderson and Jennifer Stone.

Review: My youngest daughter attended her first prom this weekend. She had fun, but it was an exhausting Saturday for all of us, especially since she attends virtual school, and her prom was held an hour away. As a result, my wife and I wound up crashing on the couch most of yesterday afternoon and watched movies. This included Mean Girls 2

To tell you the truth, I wasn't expecting to like this movie. I enjoyed Mean Girls and the musical reboot, but this seemed like one of those movies that was just looking to cash in on a popular film without bothering to bring back any of the original cast (well, other than Tim Meadows, but I'm not really counting him because he looked like he was just phoning it in). As a result, I had lowered expectations. However, it turned out to be better than expected.

Admittedly, the overall plot seemed a bit weak. The whole "being paid to be someone's friend" thing has been done to death, both in films and on television and my wife and I expected this to be very predictable as a result. So, we were pleasantly surprised when that didn't end up being the case.

I think the thing I liked best about this movie was Mandi (Walsh) was a solid villain. She was intelligent, manipulative and wasn't afraid to cross lines, whether it was an attempt to get Jo (Martin) expelled or sabotaging a race engine to get Jo's father (Linden Ashby) fired. Jo meanwhile found herself being corrupted by the desire for revenge to the point there was very little difference between the two of them. The various twists and turns that were the result of that, including one major betrayal, kept it from predictable and made it surprisingly entertaining.

I also liked how the movie, much like the original, kept the focus on the main characters and made the obligatory love story between Jo and her shop partner, Tyler (Diego Boneta) more of a secondary thing rather than bog the movie down with it. Having Tyler be Mandi's brother was a nice touch too because it did create the possibility of him needing to choose between Jo and his family.

Probably my only complaint about this movie was the beforementioned "paid to be a friend" thing. While it didn't hurt the movie as much as I thought it would, the end result still wound up being what we expected it to be and relied way too much on bad timing. Fortunately, the powder puff football game that followed not long after that did sort of make up for it.

Final Opinion: Is it as good as the original Mean Girls? No. However, the movie does have some funny moments and a plot that isn't as terrible as I was expecting. In other words, we didn't hate it.

My Grade: B


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