‘Moxie’ on Netflix Is Like ‘Mean Girls,’ But Patrick Schwarzenegger Is the Regina George

When I was in high school, a boy one grade above mine would wave his crucifix in my face and chant, “The power of Christ compels you.” One of his buddies duct-taped my mouth shut backstage during a rehearsal for our school production of The Wedding Singer. Another snickered every time I spoke up in AP Calc. 

While mean girls absolutely existed within the halls of my tiny private school, it’s clear to me that the popular narrative that boys bully with their fists while girls utilize psychological warfare is a Hollywood fallacy. 

In any classic teen movie centered on girlhood, there’s an HBIC: Mean Girls’ Regina George. Bring It On’s Big Red. Easy A’s Marianne Bryant. On the contrary, the popular boys in these films are most often portrayed as aw-shucks nice guys who claim they don’t know what to do about their horrible ex-girlfriends. (I’m looking at you, Peter Kavinsky and Aaron Samuels.)

I assumed I’d be in for more of the same when Moxie, the latest teen dramedy to hit Netflix, introduced walking letterman jacket Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and informed us he’d recently broken up with Emma Johnson (Josephine Langford), the girl voted “most bangable” for the second year in a row by her peers. After all, the closest Hollywood has come to creating the type of toxic boys I grew up with was Josh Bryant in Princess Diaries, but even that jerk tricked Mia Thermopolis on the orders of his ex, Lana Thomas.

I was wrong.

Colleen Hayes/NETFLIX © 2020

The misogynist ranking system of the Most Bangable list, employed by Mitchell and his buddies, sets up the plot of Moxie, like Mean Girls with a feminist bent. The Amy Poehler–directed drama follows Vivian (Hadley Robinson), a slightly invisible wallflower, as she retaliates by publishing an anonymous zine that unites her female classmates against sexist peers, dress codes, and administrators. 

But first Vivian is shaken awake by a new, more outspoken student named Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), who is immediately targeted by the popular football player. “Ignore Mitchell,” Vivian tells the cool feminist after a tense face-off in English class. “He’s an idiot. He has been since the second grade.”

“He’s dangerous,” Lucy responds. And he is. By the end of the film, we learn Mitchell’s psychopathy goes well beyond rants about cancel culture and spitting in Coke cans. In fact, comparing him to Regina George is hardly fair to the fearsome leader of The Plastics: He’s lightyears worse. 

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