The father of a high school pariah offers to pay another student’s way through college if she makes friends with his outcast daughter.
You know that feeling when your idea is totally Bad News Bears, and everyone around you is trying to save you from your own instincts, but you go through with it anyway out of insatiable curiosity and end up hating every life choice that’s led you to that regrettable moment in time?
WELL. That is, in the words of your favourite 1D balladeer, the story of my life.
Venture back in time with me, to the olden days of November 2014. Due to my addiction to shitty spiritual sequels,* I casually (and prophetically) mentioned the high likelihood of me choosing this movie for a Stream It.
Recognizing that a poor decision was in my future, kind and sage commenter kardigán delivered some real talk:
you don’t want that, really. or if you really do, just pretend it’s titled “another high school movie, which is not particularly bad, but not good either, and cannot hold a candle to mean girls (and has nothing to do with it)”
WHY OH WHY DIDN’T I LISTEN TO KARDIGÁN? And so it shall say on my tombstone.
Anyway. Mean Girls 2 trades in its predecessor’s nuanced examination of girl politics for a plotline more becoming of the bastard child of She’s All That (which, thankfully, doesn’t have a sequel — yet). New girl Jo is paid to become friends with the New!Plastics’ favourite victim. Will the secret arrangement turn into a real friendship? Will Jo feel super guilty about it? Will you see every storyline coming a mile away?!?! SO MUCH SUSPENSE.
* Believe it or not, I don’t just watch these out of schadenfreude. Mindless, boilerplate sequels are perfect multitasking background noise. You can follow the plot without paying much attention!
Let’s begin the rundown of everyone who’s too good to be in this movie (i.e, everyone, full stop).
Meaghan Martin as Jo
I’ve been watching the short-lived and dearly departed 10 Things I Hate About You TV show lately, on which Meaghan plays bubbly and ditzy really well. Here, in addition to looking nothing like herself in the poster, she’s the Cool Tough Chick. ‘Cause she, like, knows about cars ‘n shit! She wears leather instead of pink! And she’s the only girl who takes shop!** So, kind of like the Cool Girl for the teen set.
Also: for whatever reason, Jo seems like the poor man’s Britt Robertson. I swear it’s not just blonde blindness.
** Which weirdly has projects that are way more appropriate for physics, like the popular-in-TV-and-movies egg drop apparatus. Can you do anything right, movie?
Maiara Walsh as Mandi
Gorgeous as Maiara is, she actually might not be too good for this movie. Her acting was a bit painful at times, but she’s certainly not getting any help from the writing, either.
One of this film’s biggest blunders — aside from existing at all, obvs — is the direction it went with its Regina character. Regina George is brilliant and manipulative. She’s fully aware of how far she can push people without disrupting the careful balance between how much she’s loved versus how much she’s hated.
Whereas this girl Mandi is a straight-up PSYCHOPATH. And not only because she spells her name with an ‘i’. There’s absolutely no subtlety, because Mandi is just a giant brat. Besides, Regina would never openly scheme or get her own hands dirty like an amateur.
Claire Holt as Chastity
Oh, goody. It’s the Karen slutty dumb blonde counterpart, minus all the funny! Claire Holt, you are DEFINITELY too good for this. Even if your line deliveries here might suggest otherwise.
Diego Boneta as Tyler
Sigh, I really liked as Spencer’s boyfriend back in Season 1 of Pretty Little Liars. So it’s a testament to Mean Girls 2‘s far-reaching suck that he did nothing for me. Not even when he took his shirt off and poured water on himself, which just felt gratuitous and awkward instead of hot. And I am not one to look a shirtless gift horse in the mouth.
Tim Meadows as Principal Duvall
The lone carryover from the original movie, you can practically hear the death rattle of Tim’s soul.
Both to this movie’s credit (because it might think it’s better than taking the easy bait) and detriment (because it’s really not), it didn’t even bother creating weak facsimiles of the best characters. That’s right — no one is too gay to function, nor are they a cool mom. Doesn’t this movie know it should be capitalizing on whatever worked in the original? That’s just, like, the rules of direct-to-DVD sequels!
Couch-Sharing Capability: Misery Loves Company?
Given all the hate-watchers out there, I’m sure this will be right in somebody’s wheelhouse. For me, however — I wouldn’t want to subject anybody I wanted to stay friends with to this.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Maximum, or Equivalent
Of course, I didn’t expect to bust a gut from laughing without a Tina Fey script, but it’s like the writers tried to compensate for their comedic shortcomings by loading up on angsty dramz. However poor it might be, the writing’s not helped by the stilted editing that kills the jokes DOA. No exaggeration, this felt like the longest 96 minutes of my life — and I once was ambushed by a blind date in my own home. So pick your poison and stock the hell up on it, ’cause you’re gonna need every last bit if you plan on sitting through this one.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Bottom of the Barrel
Don’t do it, y’all. Resist the temptation! This is bad by TV movie standards, and abhorrent sacrilege to the Mean Girls brand. In fact, the original is on Netflix now, so you’d be better off watching that twice in a row and pretending the second viewing was the sequel.