fbpx
Skip to content
Home > Mean Girls (2024): A Review

Mean Girls (2024): A Review

"Mean Girls," the musical, does a lot of things right but also manages to get so much wrong.

Mean Girls The Musical Has Some Extremely High Highs and Extremely Low Lows

Mean Girls, released January 10, 2024, was directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film follows a similar structure to the original, with a few scenes either redone through a musical format or just entirely erased from the film. The story, unlike the original, opens with Janis and Damian, played by Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey, as they perform “A Cautionary Tale,” which introduces the audience to the story that is about to unfold. It then shifts to Cady, played by Angourie Rice, who sings her opening song, “What Ifs,” which details her hope for a new life after receiving news of her move from Kenya to North Shore High. The film then follows the classic story of the original, hitting key points such as Cady’s first day, meeting the Plastics, the plan to take down Regina, the eventual takeover by Cady, her downfall, and then the ending. 

Explanation of the Movie

The film manages to blend the musical as well as the previous film installment in a relatively safe way with not too many feathers ruffled with the finished product. The narrative had two versions of a story to follow, with both the musical and the original film from 2004. The Broadway musical served as a highlight of what to do when adapting the musical to the screen. This should have been pretty easy to follow since a successful change from narrative had been done before with the musical, however, it proved to be difficult in many circumstances, especially when some vital scenes were cut, which often gave the characters a more dimensional persona. An example would be the water fountain scene in which Regina uses her power to help Gretchen. In the original 2004 version, this scene illustrates why the Plastics stick by Regina – she may be ruthless and vindictive, but she’s loyal to those who follow her. In the new movie, this isn’t utilized in the same way, instead portrayed in a musical number titled “Apex Predator.” Regina in the new film doesn’t have the scenes that make her a likable person to those around her, making the entire relationship between the trio feel more formulaic than natural. Despite the lack of a few character-building scenes, the movie overall has a nice ebb and flow, weaving throughout the narrative and adding just enough differences to make it feel unique. This is shown with Damian’s talent show which is now the iCarly theme song in French instead of “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, and the act of Aaron catching Regina cheating on him.

Mean Girls the Musical Cady, Damian and Janice
Jaquel Spivey as Damian Hubbard, Angourie Rice as Cady Heron, and Auli’i Cravalho as Janis Sarkisian from Paramount Pictures

Acting and Singing

This cast is truly a mixed bag in terms of career introspections, and that makes the viewing experience that much more interesting. It has established big names like Busy Philipps, Tim Meadows, Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, and Jenna Fischer. It has current young stars like Christopher Briney, Reneé Rapp, and Auli’i Cravalho, and it has new and showstopping talent like Jaquel Spivey and Avantika Vandanapu. For the better part of the movie, the cast of characters felt like their own and not carbon copies of the original or even lesser versions…for the most part. Rapp manages to add a forefront of danger that makes Regina a lot more intimidating, which now reflects society’s idea of power structures. Vandanapu’s portrayal of Karen brings a level of softness and vulnerability that she was never granted originally. Spivey adds the missing queerness of Damian from the original, making him not feel like a character but a queer Gen Z high schooler. Everyone, for the most part, brought incredible talent to their roles and made their characters the ones to watch in any scene they participated in. The lead herself was a letdown, unfortunately, which comes across as surprising as her actor; Angourie Rice has been in numerous projects like Honor Society from 2022, and The Nice Guys from 2016. Cady is the main character of the film in both the original and the musical remake, she is the fish out of water in a new school, with this perspective, she is kind of a blank slate. Still, she is a character with her own personality – at least she is in the original. Rice, though talented, just doesn’t connect with who Cady is on a deeper level. Rice plays Cady as clueless and a generally dull person, and whether intentionally or not, this makes for an excruciating viewing experience when she is on screen. 

This is because not only was her acting not the best, but neither was her singing, and this is a musical movie, which means knowing how to sing is an important factor. Rice, stacked up against singers like Rapp, Vandanapu, Bebe Wood, Cravalho, and Spivey, who all showcased extremely impressive vocals, just made her look bad in comparison. This then brings Briney into the conversation, as his casting famously had Aaron Samuels’ songs cut due to his inability to sing. Briney is an interesting case in terms of casting because, in writing, he should be the perfect match. He’s been labeled a “heartthrob” and played a love interest on the popular Netflix show, The Summer I Turned Pretty. He just somehow lacks the charm of Aaron and doesn’t make him someone that either Regina or Cady would go for. Jonathan Bennett made someone as bland as Aaron Samuels into someone that everyone believed could pull women like Rachel McAdams and Lindsay Lohan. Briney, unfortunately, just doesn’t bring that same charisma to the character, and his lack of musical numbers makes him even more bland in comparison to his counterparts in the original and on Broadway.

Recommendation

Mean Girls is an interesting submission into the world of remakes and musicals, having both bad and amazing performances throughout the film. Though the review might seem like this is a bad movie, it is anything but. It showcases so many talented queer artists who bring their A-game in terms of raw talent, and it deserves to be witnessed. The film might lack in some areas but there is excellent humor, extravagant dance sequences choreographed by Kyle Hanagami, and an overall positive vibe that illustrates its love of the material it is proceeding. The film is amazing and one to rewatch, whether in theaters or on streaming. Moreover, it is a movie to watch if you love the musical.

Mean Girls Musical Movie REGINA GEORGE
Reneé Rapp as Regina George from Paramount Pictures

Mean Girls (2024) Offical Paramount Pictures Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

Contact Information:

Email: news@deadtalknews.com

Phone: +1 (646) 397-2874

Dead Talk Live is simultaneously streamed to: YouTubeInstagramTikTokFacebookTwitchTwitterVimeo, and LinkedIn

Shop official Dead Talk Live Merchandise at our Online Store

Author

Website | Posts
Posts
Samantha Neibloom is a current undergraduate student at Arcadia University pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing as well as a minor in media and communications. She is an avid fan of movies and tv shows and hopes to pursue a career in the film/media industry.