Mark Waters directs this 2004 teen comedy. The film is based partly on a 2002 self-help book by Rosalind Wiseman, called Queen Bees and Wannabes. The film follows Cady Heron, a sixteen-year-old girl who moves from Africa to Evanston, Illinois.
The story of Mean Girls follows Cady as she attends an actual school for the first time in her life, having been home-schooled before. She meets new friends and ultimately abandons them to become part of the “Plastics”. There is plenty of drama and great laughs along the way as relationships are tried and tested.
The film found favor with critics who praised its direction, performances, screenplay, and excellent humor. The movie was made on a budget of only $17 million and grossed $130.1 million at the box office. Our favorite picks similar to this film are Mean Girls 2 (2011), Sleep Over (2004), and Legally Blonde (2001). For these and more great film recommendations, keep reading.
1. Mean Girls 2
Mean Girls 2 is a 2011 sequel to the original film; however, Tim Meadows is the only original cast member who reprises his role as Principal Ron Duvall. The film was directed by Melanie Mayron and is a teen comedy television film.
We follow an eighteen-year-old high school senior, Jo Mitchell, who attends North Shore High School. On her first day at the school, though, she encounters the clique, known as the “Plastics”. She also meets a perceived rival, Abby Hanover. Conflict soon begins to develop, and enemies are quickly made.
The film stars Meaghan Martin, Maiara Walsh, Jennifer Stone, Nicole Gale Anderson, and Clair Holt. It was not greeted well by critics; however, many people watched it upon its release, mainly females between 12–34 years old.
2. Sleep Over
Sleep Over was the 2004 directorial debut of Joe Nussbaum and is also a teen comedy. The film is about a group of girls who have a sleepover on the last day of their eighth grade.
A group of popular girls challenges them to a scavenger hunt where the winner will be allowed a seat near the fountain, with the popular kids, while the losers will sit near the dumpsters.
The film has Mika Boorem, who plays Hannah Carlson, along with Farrah James, and Yancy Williams. It was donned as being something that only teen girls would potentially find entertaining, but its performance at the box office was pretty good, turning a $10 million budget into $98.1 million.
3. Legally Blonde
This 2001 comedy was directed by Robert Luketic and was his 2001 feature-length directorial debut. The film is all about girl power, and we follow as Elle Woods attempts to win back the affection of her ex-boyfriend by getting a Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law School.
The film helps to break down the stereotypes against blondes, and in the end, our heroin triumphs and becomes a successful lawyer. Reese Witherspoon plays the lead role, and with her are Luke Wilson, Matthew Davis, Selma Blair, Victor Garber, and Jennifer Coolidge.
The film was well-received by most critics; however, some stated that “the material is predictable and formulaic”. However, Witherspoon’s performance was praised and said to be why the film faired so well. At the box office, it made $141.8 million on a budget of $18 million.
Although an older film, having come out in 1995, this coming-of-age teen comedy, directed by Amy Heckerling, is still definitely worth a watch. The film also deals with the concept of an average girl receiving a total makeover and becoming popular.
The film stars Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash, and Paul Rudd. The story follows a modern-day setting of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma. Cher Horowitz, a popular and beautiful, as well as rich high school student, befriends a newcomer and decides to give her a makeover.
The film received positive reviews and has gone down in history as one of the best teen films ever made. Its budget of $12 million only managed to make a conservative $56.6 million.
5. Jennifer’s Body
Okay, this one is reserved for the slightly more mature audience members but is undoubtedly similar to Mean Girls in that there is a girl, who all the boys like and every girl wants to befriend. It is a 2009 comedy horror, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama.
The movie follows Megan Fox, who plays Jennifer Check, a possessed high school girl who kills her male classmates, but her best friend is trying to thwart her attacks. It also stars Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, and Johnny Simmons.
The film received mixed reviews, with some critics stating that it fell short on both the comedic and horror aspects it was supposed to be sporting. It also did not do too well at the box office, as it only managed to get a return of $31.6 million on a budget of $16 million.
This 2003 teen drama was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and shot primarily on hand-held cameras. The antics in this film are a bit more extreme than in Mean Girls, but the “changing” due to peer influence is a shared theme.
The film follows Tracy, a seventh-grade student who, after befriending a troubled classmate, begins getting involved in sex, crime, and substance abuse. It stars Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, and Nikki Reed. In supporting roles, we have Brady Corbet, Kip Pardue, and Vanessa Hudgens.
The film received mainly positive reviews; however, there was some controversy surrounding the film’s content and the depiction of underage sexual behavior and substance use. Hunter received an Academy Award nomination, and both she and Wood received Golden Globe Award nominations. It made $10.1 million on a tight budget of $1 million.
7. The Parent Trap
The Parent Trap is a romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers and co-written by her and Charles Shyer. It is a 1998 remake of the film of the same name, which was released in 1961. Although not based in a high school, it features Lindsay Lohan as two sisters who work together to try and reunite their parents.
This was Lohan’s film debut, and she stars as twin sisters of a divorced couple. The twins were split after birth, each parent taking one of the children, but they are fortuitously reunited at a summer camp. They then go on a mission to rekindle the relationship between their parents.
The critics loved the film, particularly Lohan’s stellar performance as two different characters. The film also managed to perform relatively well at the box office, making $ 92.1million on a budget of $15 million.
8. 13 Going On 30
13 Going on 30 (2004) was released in some countries as Suddenly 30 and is a fantasy romantic comedy. Gary Winick directed the film, and it starred Jennifer Garner. In the spirit of maturing and getting older, this film follows a thirteen-year-old who wishes to be thirty.
This is after she dreams of being popular, and she is humiliated by her classmates during her birthday party. She then makes her wish, and after going to bed, she awakens as a thirty-year-old woman, with no idea how she got there.
The critics showed the film favor in their reviews. It was particularly praised for Garner’s performance, the wonderful humor, and the elements of nostalgia that it brought along with it. At the box office, it did rather well, and its production budget of $37 million reaped a return of $96.5 million.
9. Easy A
This 2010 teen romantic comedy was directed by Will Gluck and written by Bert V. Royal. It is also set in a high school environment, and betrayal and popularity are similar themes found in this film.
The plot centers on Olive Penderghast, who lies about losing her virginity. A fellow student of hers, Marianne Bryant, overhears her telling Rhiannon, a friend of Olive’s. The rumor quickly spreads throughout the school, and the school’s church group tries to save her from her promiscuity. Brandon, a gay friend of Olive, asks her to pretend to sleep with her at a party, to which she agrees.
The film stars Emma Stone, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, and Amanda Bynes. It was partly inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter.
The film received great reviews from critics and won numerous awards. Its performance at the box office reflected its accolades as it managed to turn its budget of $8 million into $75 million.
10. Wild Child
This 2008 teen comedy film is directed by Nick Moore and has a school setting, and there are similarities of spoiled teens with too much money at play. The film is about a wealthy teen, Poppy Moore, who is sent to a boarding school in England, where she soon realizes the true meaning of life and friendship.
Starring in the lead is Emma Roberts and with her are Alex Pettyfer, Kimberley Nixon, Georgia King, Juno Temple, and Linzey Cocker. Poppy’s behavior is what gets her sent to boarding school, and while there, her antics continue. However, when she learns that one of her fellow student’s mothers died in a car crash, they become friends, and things begin to change.
Unfortunately, the critics were not very impressed by the film, and some tagged it as being “more mild than wild”. At the box office, its luck did not change either as it only made $21.9 million, off of a budget of $20 million.
11. She’s The Man
She’s the Man is a romantic comedy teen sports film directed by Andy Fickman and released in 2006. The film is also set in a school, and keeping secrets is a big theme of this movie.
This film was inspired by the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. It follows a teen girl, Viola Hastings, who pretends to be her brother at a boarding school to play soccer, which she loves.
The film stars Amanda Bynes, Laura Ramsey, Channing Tatum, and Vinnie Jones. The reviews were mixed, but overall, Bynes’ performance was praised. At the box office, the film performed moderately well and made $57.2 million on a budget of $20 million.
12. She’s All That
This 1999 teen romantic comedy was directed by Robert Iscove and is a modern-day adaptation of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The story, too, is set in a high school and follows the idea of turning an unnoticed girl into one who is popular.
After Zack Siler is dumped by his girlfriend, he claims that he can make any of the girls at his high school popular. The challenge is made between him and a friend, Dean Sampson Jr., who disagrees with the plausibility. Zack decides to test his theory on a solitary art student, Laney Boggs.
The film stars Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Paul Walker. Critics criticized the script, but the performances were praised. The box office also leaned in the film’s favor as it made $103.2 million off a budget of approximately $7 million.
Although this 2006 fantasy romantic comedy, directed by Elizabeth Allen, is not based in a school environment, there are definitely elements of female struggles prevalent in the narrative.
The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name, by Alice Hoffman, which was published in 2001. It follows two best friends, Hailey and Claire, enjoying the last days of their summer vacation when Hailey prays that her mother will change her mind about moving. The next night the girls encounter a mermaid who has fled home, owing to an arranged marriage.
The film stars Emma Roberts, Sara Paxton, and Joanna “JoJo” Levesque. It received mixed opinions from critics, but the consensus was that it offered a “hopeful message for young girls”. Unfortunately, it did not perform incredibly well at the box office and made a return of $23 million on its $12 million budget.
14. The Devil Wears Prada
This comedy-drama, directed by David Frankel and produced by Wendy Finerman, was released in 2006. It is similar to Mean Girls in that it follows the story of an individual who has to adapt and change to the environment she finds herself in.
The story follows a college graduate, Andrea “Andy” Sachs, who heads to New York City and nabs a job as the assistant of a powerful fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestly. We see how she has to adapt to her new work environment and how she changes as a person, in some parts for the better and others for the worse.
Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, and Stanley Tucci star in this acclaimed film, praised for being one of those rare cases where it surpassed the quality of the novel from which it was inspired. Its box office return was also substantial, turning its $35 million production budget into $326.7 million.
15. Never Been Kissed
Never Been Kissed also has a high school setting. This 1999 romantic comedy, which Raja Gosnell directed, deals with a woman who has never had a real relationship. When she feigns being a high school student, she falls in love with the English teacher.
The story follows this insecure twenty-five-year-old copy editor, who works for the Chicago Sun-Times. Her editor-in-chief tasks her to go undercover to a high school to report on the lives of modern children. When she returns to school, she reverts to the geeky persona that was the cause of her misery the first time around. This time she falls head over heels for her English teacher.
The cast comprises Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Jessica Alba, Michael Vartan, Jeremy Jordan, and Leelee Sobieski. This was also James Franco’s film debut. The critics had mixed feelings for the film, with some pleased and others calling it “unoriginal”. It did rather well at the box office, though, and made a decent $84.6 million on a budget of $25 million.
16. Reality High
#RealityHigh is a teen comedy directed by Fernando Lebrija and was released in 2017 on Netflix. It follows the story of a somewhat geeky girl at high school and although intelligent, gets herself involved with the wrong crowd.
We follow our protagonist Dani Barnes who has only one true friend, and he has a secret crush on her; unfortunately, she is unaware of this. She has eyes for Cameron Drake, who is the boyfriend of Alexa Medina. After breaking up with Cameron, Alexa sees that he and Dani begin to grow closer. Alexa apologizes for her treatment of Dani and befriends her, only to betray her later on.
Unfortunately, the film did not win the favor of most critics, but it is still a fair story about what popularity can do to a young person.
17. The Outcasts
This 2017 teen comedy was directed by Peter Hutchings and deals with the story of a group of misfits at high school who stand together to overthrow the popular clique at their school.
The film stars Victoria Justice, Ashley Richards, Eden Sher, Claudia Lee, and Katie Chang. Two best friends, who have suffered at the hands of the school’s mean girls, plan to go through their senior year unnoticed. However, after being victims of a humiliating prank, they concoct a plan to assemble the outcasts and stage a revolution.
The film was noted for its humor, but the overall ratings were mixed at the end of the day. It was only released at limited theatres and thus only made a box office of $24,197 and was then made available on video-on-demand.
18. The Breakfast Club
This list would not be complete without 1985’s The Breakfast Club. Although it is an older film, this teen coming-of-age comedy-drama, written, produced, and directed by John Hughes, is a must-watch for anyone who enjoyed Mean Girls.
The film takes place over an afternoon on a Saturday, where a group of teenagers from different cliques in the high school spend the day in detention. Along with them is their authoritarian assistant principal.
The movie follows their antics and the unlikely relationships formed over the day, and although different people realize they have more in common than they would have thought.
The film stars Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, and Ally Sheedy. It was chosen to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry, for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The film was made on a budget of only $1 million but was able to make a return of $51.5 million at the box office.
19. The Princess Diaries
A 2001 coming-of-age comedy, directed by Garry Marshall and based on the young adult novel of the same name by Meg Cabot, is a must-see for anyone who enjoyed character transformation in Mean Girls.
The story follows Mia Thermopolis, a shy and reserved teenager who learns that she is the heir to the throne of a particular European kingdom. Under the watchful eye of her estranged grandmother, she is groomed to take her place on the throne, but life forces her to make the hard choice of accepting the inheritance or renouncing the title.
The stars in this film are Anne Hathaway, who plays Mia, and Julie Andrews. The supporting cast includes Héctor Elizondo, Mandy Moore, Heather Matarazzo, Robert Schwartzman, and Caroline Goodall.
The film was widely praised, particularly for Hathaway and Andrews’ performances. At the box office, it outperformed expectations and made a sizeable $165.3 million after spending $26 million on production.
Again, a film with a slightly more mature audience in mind, but a noteworthy addition to our list is Bridesmaids. It is a 2011 comedy written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig and directed by Paul Feig. If you enjoyed the great laughs brought on by Mean Girls, you’ll likely enjoy this humor.
The film is about Annie Walker, who is single and in her mid-thirties. Due to the recession, her bakery has failed, and her savings have been depleted; soon after, her boyfriend leaves her, too.
She loses her passion for baking and takes a job in a jewelry store while sharing an apartment with Gil and Brynn. One day her lifelong best friend asks her to be her maid of honor. From here, things go from funny to hilarious as we witness the antics that unfold.
It stars Kristen Wiig, Matt Lucas, Rebel Wilson, Jon Hamm, and Maya Rudolph. The film and its stars were nominated for Golden Globe and Academy Awards. At the box office, it pocketed a hefty $288.4 million from a budget of $32.5 million.
21. Uptown Girls
This 2003 comedy-drama was adapted from the story by Allison Jacobs and directed by Boaz Yakin. If you liked the lavish living of the “Plastics” in Mean Girls, then this one will undoubtedly be a treat for you.
We follow the story of a twenty-two-year-old, Molly Gunn, who lives as the daughter of the late famous rock and roll musician, Tommy Gunn. She falls in love with a singer who performs at her birthday party, and they experience a night of passion before he leaves in the morning, saying that he cannot be in her life. Adding to this, her father’s accountant has embezzled her money, leaving her broke.
The film stars Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Marley Shelton, Heather Locklear, and Donald Faison. The critics, unfortunately, did not fancy the script as they stated that it was “uneven”. It only managed to make a return of $44.6 million at the box office on its initial $20 million budget.
This 2007 movie was based on the musical of 2002, of the same name; it, in turn, was based on the film from 1988, by John Waters. The film was both directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman.
We follow the story of Tracy Turnblad, who is a sixteen-year-old larger high school girl who dreams of becoming a star. We witness her first being rejected for a role that she auditions for, but ultimately gets due to Corny Collins picking her. She soon rises to fame, but unfortunately, along with success often comes jealous rivals.
The movie stars an ensemble cast of John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron. It received rave reviews from viewers and critics alike and had a box office hit of $203.5 million from a budget of $75 million.
23. Pitch Perfect
This 2012 musical comedy was directed by Jason Moore and written by Kay Cannon. It was released in 2012 and follows the story of Barden University’s all-girl a cappella group. There is the same tension and rivalry that is seen in Mean Girls in this film.
We watch as the group competes against another cappella group from their college, hoping to win the nationals. There is singing and more singing in this film, but it has more of a sense of being a great comedy with the exceptional backdrop of excellent vocal performances.
Once again, we have a film with an ensemble cast, and in this case, we see names such as Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, and Alexis Knapp. The critics were pleased with this “formulaic” film which was able to present outstanding performances. At the box office, it made $115.4 million from a budget of $17 million.
24. School Of Rock
Richard Linklater directed this 2003 comedy, and although it does not follow a story of one girl’s rise in popularity, it is based in a school setting and has plenty of thrills and great humor to go along with it.
The film stars Jack Black as a struggling rock guitarist, Dewey Finn, who has been removed from his band. He ultimately masquerades as a substitute teacher as his only hope of an income and soon discovers that his class has an affinity for music. He then forms a band with the students, and they plan on attending an upcoming Battle of the Bands.
Along with Black are Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Miranda Cosgrove, and Mike White. As silly as the plot seems, the movie sat remarkably well with both critics and the general audience. The film saw its budget of $35 million return a commendable $131.3 million.
Spud is sort of like the male version of Mean Girls, but instead of a girl who has moved to Illinois from Africa, this film takes place in South Africa. It was released in 2010 and was directed by Donovan Marsh. It was based on the novel by John van de Ruit, which shares the same name.
The film follows John Milton, who is attending an elite boarding school, Michael House, in South Africa around the time of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. The story is about his first year at the school, and we go along with him and his friends as they get up to all sorts of misdemeanors.
In the lead, we have Troye Sivan, and along with him are John Cleese, Tanit Phoenix, Jeremy Crutchley, Jamie Royal, and Sven Ruygrok, among others. The film was generally well-received and won awards. It was made on a budget of $4 million, but unfortunately only made $2,371,544 million.