Mean Girls (2004)
The influence from Heathers is almost painfully obvious throughout this familiar, well-meaning and over-Americanised high school film. The only thing missing in the link to Michael Lehmann's 1989 film is the Christian Slater character. The three Heathers and Winona Ryder's Veronica Sawyer are represented almost a hundred per cent.
Writers Fey (script) and Wiseman (novel) have also clearly drawn inspiration from The Breakfast Club, but of course, the characterisations here are much less subtle and far more stereotypical. The latter is a surprising flaw for a movie which seems to be taking its target group rather seriously, because if it is one thing Mean Girls succeeds in, it is having a basic understanding of the teenage (girl) way of thinking and of the shortcomings of the educational system (brilliantly represented through the pinpointed Mr. Duvall character).
Unfortunately, there is too much idiocy bulging between the poignant observations and the occasional hysterical comedy. In the end, very few of these girls feel like actual human beings. They should be caricatured versions of existing types, not altogether constructed puppets. Or perhaps I'm just too used to the European school system to be able to appreciate this.