27 Movies to Watch When You're in a "Mean Girls" Mood
"Mean Girls" is a total classic for so many reasons: its endless supply of quotable lines, its satirical but still relatable plot, and its memorable characters, to name just a few. It has definitely earned its place in the pantheon of iconic high school movies, but it's not the only teen movie to worm its way into our hearts.
The teen-movie genre goes back decades, evolving to reflect both the idealized versions of high school life and more realistic ones. "Mean Girls" falls somewhere in between, which is a big part of its legacy. While most people probably didn't have a literal Burn Book being passed around the hallways of their high schools, you most likely can relate to the intense cliques, brutal spreading of rumors, and feeling like you'll never fit in. "Mean Girls" is ridiculous and over-the-top, but it's also honest about what it feels like to be a teenager, and that, even more than the hilarious dialogue and iconic scenes, keeps it relevant nearly 20 years later.
It's no wonder that we're always looking for movies that remind us of the best parts of "Mean Girls." Though "Mean Girls" is absolutely one of a kind, there are plenty of other movies that remind us of some of the best elements of this beloved comedy. The next time you're craving a rewatch, consider making it a double feature with one of these fantastic movies.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Clueless"
Before the Plastics reigned over high school, Cher Horowitz and her pals ruled their Beverly Hills high school with some goofy hijinks, charming self-absorption, and fabulous '90s style. Loosely based on Jane Austen's "Emma," about a self-centered and wealthy young woman who enjoys meddling in her friends' lives, "Clueless" transplants the action to a high school full of privileged teens. Cher and her BFF Dionne decide to take awkward new student Tai under their wing and make her over into a perfect member of their squad. Along the way, they face boyfriend issues, messed-up love triangles, and common teen dramas like drivers ed and party invites — not to mention the amused disapproval of Cher's ex-stepbrother, Josh.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Easy A"
What "Mean Girls" was for the early 2000s, "Easy A" was for the early 2010s. Starring Emma Stone in one of her breakout roles, the movie riffs on the English-class classic "The Scarlet Letter" for a wickedly funny comedy about high school hierarchies and sexist double standards. Like Cady Heron, Olive Penderghast starts out as a charming outsider at a high school with brutal gossip. Unlike Cady, Olive gets thrust into the spotlight accidentally when a rumor spreads that she lost her virginity. Instead of hiding, Olive decides to turn her newfound infamy to her advantage, helping out some friends and drawing attention to the hypocrisy around her school.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Freaky Friday"
"Freaky Friday" is another iconic Lindsay Lohan movie that proves she really was the queen of the early-aughts teen-movie scene. A remake of the 1976 movie of the same name, this comedy stars Lohan opposite Jamie Lee Curtis as a daughter and mother who, in the grand tradition of teen movies, just don't understand each other. After an eerie encounter at a restaurant, the two wake up in each other's bodies, turning their worlds upside down and forcing them to literally live as each other until they can figure out how to reverse the spell. Along the way, they finally start to realize the challenges of each other's lives and come to an understanding about what really matters.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Heathers"
If the venom and gossip of "Mean Girls" isn't quite dark enough for you, may we suggest "Heathers," Winona Ryder's dark, satirical comedy about high school cliques? The basic structure is actually really similar to "Mean Girls": an unpopular outsider (here, it's Ryder's Veronica) stumbles into "friendship" with a clique of mean girls (the Heathers) led by one mean-spirited queen bee, then she falls for a guy who seems perfect for her. Where "Mean Girls" just goes on a series of pranks that harm reputations and feelings, "Heathers" takes things a step further, with a literal murder spree that only Veronica has a chance of stopping.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Sixteen Candles"
Before Lindsay Lohan was the redheaded teen queen of Hollywood, there was Molly Ringwald. "Sixteen Candles" is one of those movies that so perfectly captures both the eternal awkwardness of high school and the hilariously dated hallmarks of its own era. On the day that Samantha turns 16, she's hoping for a sweet sixteen to remember. Unfortunately, she's the only one who does remember it — her entire family, wrapped up in preparing for her older sister's wedding, completely forget that it's her birthday. Instead, Samantha winds up having some adventures of her own, along with her popular jock crush and a pushy but sweet nerd.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "She's the Man"
The 2000s really were the prime era for the trend of turning classic literature into teen comedies, and "She's the Man" is one in a long line of those. Shakespeare's gender-bending comedy "Twelfth Night" crosses with the world of teenage soccer teams in this quirky Amanda Bynes comedy. Viola, a confident soccer player frustrated over her girls' team getting put on the back burner to the boys', decides to pose as her twin brother, Sebastian, at his boarding school for the chance to prove girls can outplay boys. Once there, she not only has to adjust to life pretending to be a teenage boy, but she also has to deal with messy personal problems. To start with, Viola develops a crush on her soccer teammate (who thinks she's a boy), but a girl develops a crush on "Sebastian," too.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "The Outcasts"
Imagine if the students bullied by the Plastics fought back, and you've got an idea for the story behind "The Outcasts." In this teen movie, two unpopular best friends have been picked on for years by their school's two mean-spirited queen bees. After one humiliating prank goes too far, the pair decide they've had enough; they're going to take down the mean girls. They come up with a plan to unite all the outcasts of the school to bring down the reign of social terror. With the help of their newly assembled band of proud misfits, they're changing the social hierarchy once and for all.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "10 Things I Hate About You"
Sure, there are popular cliques, rebellious outcasts, and awkward nerds in this iconic teen comedy, but that's not what defines it. Loosely based on "The Taming of the Shrew," the real driving force of this movie is the convoluted plan hatched by a few characters that, like in "Mean Girls," winds up going completely off the rails. Nerdy Cameron falls for popular Bianca, but she's crushing on Joey, a rich and snobby senior. She explains to Cameron that her overprotective father has a rule in place: she can't date unless her ambitious, prickly older sister, Kat, does, too. Cameron then launches a scheme to pay Patrick, the school's bad boy, to date Kat so that he can ask out Bianca. What no one expects (least of all them) is for Kat and Patrick to actually fall for each other.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "The House Bunny"
You can take the teens out of high school, but the high school hierarchy sure seems to follow them. "The House Bunny" may take place in college, but it's got many of the same questions about social order and popularity that "Mean Girls" has. Anna Faris plays exiled Playboy bunny Shelley, who stumbles across a house of misfit sorority girls. She immediately decides to become their "house mother" and teach them the ways of glamour and popularity. As they try to upend the expectations of Greek life at their college, they also learn valuable lessons about being true to yourself and not trying so hard to fit in.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Bring It On"
Instead of focusing on the hierarchy and competition within just one school, "Bring It On" expands the rivalry between multiple high schools — or, more specifically, their cheer teams. Senior cheer captain Torrance is determined to lead her squad to victory, which makes it all the more upsetting when a new recruit accuses them of stealing routines from another team. They soon discover that their choreographer double-crossed them, selling the same routines to multiple schools. It's up to Torrance and her team to figure out a new path forward that will put them back on top of the cheer world, where they believe they belong.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "A Cinderella Story"
Plenty of your favorite teen-movie tropes are just as important in "A Cinderella Story" as they are in "Mean Girls." Sam is your classic unpopular nerd, but with an added layer of trauma: her beloved father died years ago, leaving her at the mercy of her wicked, tacky stepmother and stepsisters. As she tries to keep her head down, work in what used to be her father's diner, and achieve academically so that she can get a scholarship and escape to Princeton, she strikes up an online friendship with a mystery guy. Little does she (or anyone) know that he's actually Austin, the most popular guy at school and someone who wouldn't look twice at Sam — or would he?
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen"
The most underrated of Lindsay Lohan's teen-movie catalog is this quirky "My Fair Lady" riff. Lola is the "drama queen" of the title, a theater kid with big dreams of making it to Broadway one day. So of course she's horrified when her family announces they're leaving New York City and settling in the suburbs of New Jersey. Upon arriving at her new school, she quickly befriends one of the school outcasts and bonds over their shared love for a band, all while making an enemy of the resident mean girl. Like Cady in "Mean Girls," Lola gets caught up in her own web of lies and has to decide what kind of person she really is.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Hairspray"
High school cliques take on much more significance in this brightly colored musical comedy. Set in 1960s Baltimore, the story starts out as a pretty standard "outcast with big dreams" story. Tracy Turnblad dreams of being a dancer on a local TV show, but she believes she'll never make it, due to her unpopularity and her size. When she befriends a group of Black dancers in detention, she changes her whole outlook and nabs a spot on the show, only to throw herself wholeheartedly into the fight for racial integration and civil rights. Tracy and her friends have to risk everything in order to achieve what seems like such a simple thing: to all be allowed to dance together.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Legally Blonde"
"Mean Girls" isn't exactly full of shining praise for image-obsessed, popular girls and women, but "Legally Blonde" takes a different tactic. In another movie, Elle Woods would be the kind of character immediately flagged as a villain: a sorority president equally obsessed with fashion and her rich, snobby boyfriend. Instead, Elle goes on a major journey after said boyfriend dumps her for not being "serious" enough for him. What starts out as a mission to win him back instead helps her realize that she can do more than she ever thought she could — all while staying true to herself and to what she really believes in.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"
Whereas "Mean Girls" focuses on the ways teenage girls can be, well, mean to each other, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is a refreshing look at teenage friendship. Shy Lena, bold Bridget, creative Carmen, and rebellious Tibby have been best friends for literally their entire lives, after their moms met at prenatal classes. Now in high school, they're dreading a summer of being separated from each other. When they discover a magical pair of pants that somehow fits all four of them perfectly, they decide to send the pants back and forth all summer long as a way of staying connected as they deal with family drama, new love, and other unexpected surprises.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "13 Going on 30"
What happens when mean girls grow up? That's a big part of the story arc in "13 Going On 30," where a nerdy 13-year-old gets her wish to be a thriving 30-year-old. As a teenager, Jenna is awkward and hopeful to fit in, even letting the popular clique take advantage of her in hopes of being welcomed into their crew. After a magical birthday wish comes true, she wakes up 17 years in the future, in the body and life of her 30-year-old self. Although she's working at a fashion magazine and best friends with the former "queen bee," she's horrified to discover that, to achieve this life, she turned into a mean girl herself. Unsure if she can undo the magic that sent her to the future, Jenna sets out to reconnect with her childhood best friend Matt and make things right.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "The Breakfast Club"
One of the most iconic movies about high school cliques and hierarchies is definitely "The Breakfast Club." This '80s classic follows five very different teenagers as they're serving an all-day Saturday detention. Stuck together with nothing else to do to pass the time, they start out in conflict with each other but slowly start to open up about what's really going on in their lives. As it turns out, they have more in common than they thought, especially when it comes to dealing with the adults in their lives. Even as they start to bond with each other, they're left wondering if their friendships will last or if they'll go right back to their cliques on Monday as if nothing had ever happened, pointing out the power of these unspoken social "rules."
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Pretty in Pink"
In this classic teen movie, high school cliques aren't just about clubs and other markers — more than anything, they're about money. Andie is a high school student from the "wrong" side of town. She loves coming up with quirky fashion ideas, but she's stuck being the responsible one most of the time: her mother left, and her father is struggling to find work. She and her best friend Duckie mostly look down on the rich snobs who look down on them in return, but Andie has a crush on Blane, who seems to be different. Andie and Blane tentatively act on their mutual crush, but the pressures of their rival cliques might put an end to things before they even really start.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "She's All That"
The only trope more popular in teen movies than "overthrow the social status quo" is "make a mean bet that goes wrong when someone catches feelings." That's what happens in "She's All That," a loose "Pygmalion" retelling with the most deliciously '90s backdrop you could ask for. Zack is the school golden boy: popular, jock, and valedictorian. After getting dumped by his girlfriend so that she can pursue a reality-TV star, Zack agrees to a bet with his slimy best friend: that he can make over anyone into prom queen, even awkward, artsy Laney. Although Laney is wary of his offered friendship at first, they quickly grow closer and help each other break out of their social roles — but that bet is still looming over everything.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Some Kind of Wonderful"
"Some Kind of Wonderful" actually has a surprising take on the high school popularity trope, especially if you're more used to movies like "Mean Girls." The basic plot is definitely familiar: Watts, an uncool, tomboy girl, falls for her best guy friend Keith, but he only has eyes for Amanda, the rich, popular girl. Unlike most movies about this kind of love triangle, though, Amanda actually isn't a mean girl who needs taking down — she's got a journey of her own. Along the way, Watts tries to make Keith jealous, but it takes him a while to realize that his perfect match has been there all along.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Never Been Kissed"
Let's be honest, most of us wouldn't go back to relive our high school days under any circumstances. But that's exactly what Josie, the intrepid heroine of "Never Been Kissed," agrees to do. To her classmates, she's just a dorky new student, but in reality, she's a 20-something newspaper reporter going undercover for an article intended to help parents better understand their teenage kids. Josie finds herself targeted by a very Plastics-esque group of mean girls, and things get even more complicated when her brother joins her undercover assignment and instantly becomes popular. Even more stressful: she starts falling for her English teacher, who still thinks she's a teenage student, not a woman his own age.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "The Princess Diaries"
If you love movies about lovable outsiders dealing with sudden popularity for questionable reasons, then "The Princess Diaries" is the perfect companion movie for "Mean Girls." High school student Mia is, in her own words, "invisible." Fortunately, she's got her cool artist mom, her brash BFF Lilly, and Lilly's brother Michael in her corner. When her long-lost grandmother shows up, she turns Mia's life upside down by revealing that Mia's late father was a prince and, consequently, Mia is a princess and heir to the Genovian throne. Mia tries to keep her royal news a secret until she decides what to do, but these things don't stay under wraps for long, forcing Mia to figure out who she can trust and whether or not the trappings of royal life are worth the tradeoffs.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "The DUFF"
High school can be brutal, as "Mean Girls" likes to show with its wild-animal parody scenes. "The DUFF" takes it to another level, revealing that Bianca, our protagonist, is literally referred to as the "Designated Ugly Fat Friend," or "DUFF," of her friend group. Furious, Bianca agrees to a deal with her childhood friend turned popular jock, Wesley: she'll tutor him so he can pass science and stay on the football team, and he'll teach her not to be a loser. The more time they spend together, the more their old friendship (and then some) rekindles, and they both start to realize just how much they've let the rules of high school popularity define how they view themselves.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Pitch Perfect"
Like "Mean Girls," "Pitch Perfect" focuses on a cliquey group of young women who are shaken up by the arrival of a quirky outsider. Unlike "Mean Girls," this movie is more interested in seeing how all of the girls grow and change, rather than getting meaner and meaner. Aspiring music producer Beca agrees to audition for her college's all-women a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, and is surprised when she actually makes the cut. Unfortunately, the Bellas are in a bit of a rut, but their leaders aren't interested in making any changes. Beca tries to shake things up, but she fails to consider how her changes will impact everyone else, leading to arguments that could break up the Bellas and ruin their chances at a championship.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "What a Girl Wants"
If you thought regular high school social rules were bad, try being a teenager thrust into the world of high society, balls, and aristocrats! Before leaving for college, American teen Daphne runs off to England to track down the father she never knew. It turns out her father is a literal British lord who is running for prime minister and never even knew he had a daughter. Although her father tries to bond with her, Daphne struggles to fit in, especially with her father's vicious and snobby fiancée and soon-to-be-stepsister. As Daphne tries to learn more about her family and not embarrass her father, she winds up bringing a breath of fresh air to some stuffy traditions, which delights some and angers others.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "Cruel Intentions"
The rumor-mongering and pranks of "Mean Girls" are nothing compared with the twisted manipulations that the bored, selfish teens of "Cruel Intentions" carry out. Stepsiblings Kathryn and Sebastian have their own sort of messed-up, competitive dynamic, and their latest wager involves Annette, the innocent daughter of the school headmaster. Sebastian tries to seduce Annette (among others) to win the bet but finds himself actually developing feelings for her. They're not the only ones building up twisted romances and lies, and it becomes clear that no one can really trust anyone. As the lies and manipulations start coming to light, they're all stuck making devastating decisions that will affect everyone around them.
Movies Like "Mean Girls": "High School Musical"
Think of "High School Musical" as the sweeter, goofier cousin of "Mean Girls." Cady's story is not that different from Gabriella's: an academically gifted student who arrives at her new high school and develops mutual feelings with a popular jock. Although Troy and Gabriella are both secretly interested in music, their accidental audition for the school musical throws both of their social groups into complete chaos. Just to drive the point home, the whole school literally sings a song called "Stick to the Status Quo." Of course, this being a Disney Channel movie, things eventually work out, with everyone learning important lessons about how cliques and stereotypes can stifle creativity and individuality.