If I told you to name the high school comedy that Lifetime‘s newest movie, Holiday High School Reunion, most resembles, what would you say? Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion? Wrong. I mean, there’s a little bit of that, plus a few Breakfast Club references, plus a little bit of every romantic comedy ever, but those aren’t the movies to which it pays the most homage.
That honor goes to Mean Girls. That’s right. The masterpiece that I’d bet good money is playing on TV right now somewhere in the world, probably on multiple channels and in more than one language. And with good reason. Anyone who doesn’t love Mean Girls is no friend of mine.
The plot doesn’t have much in common with Mean Girls, in that it’s about an aspiring fashion designer/former cheerleader named Georgia (Rachel Boston) who attends her high school reunion to try to win back her ex-football player boyfriend Craig. But the Mean Girls references are pervasive. Oh, let me count the ways.
I began to have visions of Plastics dancing through my head when Georgia’s high school friend Ben showed up near the start of the film. I immediately recognized him, but I couldn’t place from where. After a minute of stressed thinking, the wonderful, beautiful answer dawned on me. Ben is played by Jonathan Bennett, better known as AARON “October 3rd” SAMUELS! I was ashamed that it took me so long to realize, but he’s aged eight years, so cut me some slack.
Ben tells Georgia he doesn’t want to go to the reunion, because, as he says, “I traveled 5,000 miles to get away from high school. I’m not going back there.” Too bad, Ben/Aaron/Jonathan, because you’re about to.
This movie’s version of the Plastics are Georgia’s three cheerleader friends. Tori is now a successful model who scolds one of the other Plastics for binging on chocolate and insists on standing in the center of the group. Oh, Regina George, I’ve missed you.
These girls ask Georgia to help them perform their old glee club holiday numbers at the reunion. This school obviously doesn’t exist in Ryan Murphy‘s universe, because the cheerleaders willingly joined glee club instead of being forced to fraternize with the geeks because — I don’t remember why. That show is exhausting to keep up with.
The important part of this scenario is that the performances feature the girls singing and dancing as angels and slutty Christmas trees. A disaster occurs when Georgia accidentally knocks a big light-up snowflake off the stage. It unfortunately doesn’t hit anyone in the head, but c’mon, the reference is pretty spot-on, as is the image of Tori and Georgia bumping into each other onstage.
That’s not all, guys! At one point Georgia finds refuge in a bathroom stall, a la Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) eating her sandwich in the bathroom. At the end, a teacher (Harry Hamlin) dressed as Santa, complete with a deep “ho ho ho” voice, gives out labeled Secret Santa presents from a sack. Sadly, Glen Coco is nowhere to be found.
To make a long story short, Georgia recovers from her ten-year amnesia and remembers that, oh yeah, Craig totally cheated on her at prom and her friend Ben was really great, so she ends up with him. I called that at the beginning, but that’s not important. What’s important is that this movie ends with the camera tracking away from Jonathan Bennett kissing our protagonist on the dance floor. Sound familiar?
Either someone involved with this movie loves Mean Girls (which by the transitive property or some other kind of math thing makes them my friend) or they were informed that Mean Girls is kind of the greatest movie ever made and therefore smart to emulate. Either way, thank you, Lifetime. You make me love you more every week.