New plastics try to make fetch happen

Courtesy of New York Times
Courtesy of New York Times

This is NOT another hateful review of the newest Mean Girls film and frankly, I think outlets like the Observer who have described the movie as “vapid, tasteless and monumentally stupid,” are being incredibly harsh. 

What some people may not realize is that this new addition to the franchise was not meant to be a remake of the original film, but a movie adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. To simplify: Mean Girls (2024) is based on Mean Girls the Musical (2018) which is then based on Mean Girls (2004).  To get extra technical and give all the credit where it’s due, Mean Girls (2004) was inspired by the novel Queen Bees and Wannabes, 2002. 

As the cautionary tale goes, South Africa native Cady Heron (Angourie Rice)  moves to Evanston, IL after being homeschooled for her entire life. She then befriends Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damien (Jaquel Spivey) who convince her to double team Regina George (Renee Rapp) and her notoriously mean girl posse nicknamed the ‘Plastics’ due to their superficial personalities and Barbie-like features. 

However, Cady quickly finds herself becoming more like the Plastics every day and her once peaceful life turns into a whirlwind of drama and chaos as the truth rises to the surface and it’s revealed that while the ‘Plastics’ may hold the highest rank, the entirety of their junior class is guilty of being a “mean girl.”

While the storyline is still pretty much the same as the previous version, it’s twenty years later and the film changed accordingly with added elements of social media, fewer microaggressive quips and a more diverse cast.  There’s also the added element of Broadway pop music to move things along. 

With this in mind, I didn’t go into the theater expecting Oscar-level work or anything like that. As leading woman, Rapp, who also starred in Mean Girls on Broadway put it, “It was just silly, like we made a musical of a movie that was already a musical based off of a movie. We’re just having fun.” 

 I think that’s a perfect way to describe this motion picture. It was fun. Showrunner Tina Fey may not have made many revisions to her previous work, but with a new cast and the addition of musical expression, there was certainly some undeniable talent that I refuse to let go unpraised. 

Despite the motion picture cutting about half of the songs in the original score, the cast truly worked with what they had. A lot of fans were quick to judge when first hearing the soundtrack because of how jarringly different some songs were from the Broadway cast’s version, but I think the change of tempo and instrumentation fit the flow of the film very well. 

Overall, I did enjoy the film and I think the cast did a wonderful job at creating a vibrant, timeless, and conceptually brilliant interpretation of the classic original. 


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