Having been home schooled in Africa all of her life, Cady (Lohan) enters the jungles of secondary education in Chicago. Cady learns that high school has a similar food chain as the wild kingdom: the nerds help the jocks with their homework assignments, the outcasts make fun of the "in-crowd" and school teachers have their own traumas. Cady is seen as a math protégé to the Math Teacher (Tina Fey, who also wrote the screen play) who would like her to join Mathletes, a math club. Cady is warned by her outcast friends about the social suicide this would cause, but allow Cady to spy on the Plastics. The Plastics are a clique of 3 girls who rule the social fabric of the school.
Unlike the open warfare of the jungle, Cady learns about the sneaky back stabbing ways of high school girls. Feelings are hurt and Cady eventually learns a lesson about lying to herself. Hmm...didn't Lohan's character learn that lesson in her last movie, "Confessions of a Teenaged Drama Queen?"
"Means Girls" is funny at times, but suffers from superficiality. There are incest jokes that seem to be a staple in teen comedy nowadays. For a silly plot twist, a bus hits a character. This comedic action appears insensitive if you happened to have witnessed such an event at Deerfield Beach Middle School in 1975. Of course there is the public confession to conclude prom night and everybody lives happier ever after, despite their meanness.
Chronic meanness is survival for the 40 year old women of Quentin Taratino's 4 and 1/2 hour epic, "Kill Bill." "Kill Bill Volume 2" picks up where "Kill Bill Volume 1" left off. Bill (David Carradine) ambushes a Bride (Thurman) at her wedding. The Bride seeks revenge with her specially crafted Honso sword and the body count grows. On her road to retribution, The Bride engages in ponderous dialogue about trivial topics with her enemies.
With manic energy, artistic shot composition multiple references to pop culture, Taratino's cinematic traits are evident and he is still the mainstream critic's darling. The writer/director makes violent movies that are considered art. The gargantuan battle between Daryl Hannah and Uma Thurman ends on a sadistically clever note. Hannah's reaction echoes her death scene from 1982's "Blade Runner." Yet, did the tale of "Kill Bill" need to stretch out to two movies? Sadly being cool seems to be more important than being long winded.
While being regularly displayed on fashion magazine covers, Jennifer Garner tapped into her inner goofiness in "13 going on 30." There is not a pratfall that she doesn't take or an outdated dance move she won't attempt. Garner portrays the 30 year old version of a frustrated 13-year-old girl. The 13 year old girl wishes she were older and cool. The girl opens her eyes and discovers that she is a fashion mogul at her favorite magazine. While retaining her inner adolescent, Garner learns that her childish dreams are detracting from her enjoyment of reality.
"13 Going on 30" starts off strong and then fades, much like Mel Gibson's "What Women Want." After some early belly laughs, the film loses momentum like "Peggy Sue Got Married." The film is nonetheless redeemed by the performances of Garner and Andy (The Lord of the Rings"" Gollum) Serkis as a Magazine Editor suffering from hypertension.