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Review: ‘Mean Girls’ stuns old, new audiences

Beloved classic makes musical comeback
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

The new movie-musical “Mean Girls,” based on the 2004 same-title movie, hit theaters on Jan. 12 and has already become a hit with audiences. The infamous mean-girl Regina George, played by Renee Rapp, makes friends with the new girl at North Shore High School, Cady Heron, played by Angourie Rice, which leads to rumors, lies and punishments for the girls of North Shore High. Ultimately, the remake stayed close to the 2004 storyline, while also combining with the broadway musical based on the original and appealing to newer audiences. 

Although the movie wasn’t openly advertised as a movie-musical, audiences will be pleasantly surprised by the music. Rapp starred as the vocal gem of the film, presenting audiences with pop-y broadway songs. Select songs were brought over from the broadway musical but were made to sound more like pop songs, which non-musical-loving audience members will enjoy. Don’t let the fact that this film is a musical stop you from buying a ticket. 

Although some people have come out online and expressed their dis-satisfaction with certain casting for the film, the majority opinion agrees the film was perfectly casted for each role. Before starring the 2024 film, Rapp also played George on the Broadway show last year. Rice was also a great cast, as she was able to play the awkward cluelessness of Heron, while also playing the second half of her character arc as the clone of George. Female audience members will be pleased to see the familiar face of Christopher Briney playing the pretty-boy, jock Aaron Samuels. Briney is known as the damaged older brother, Conrad Fisher, from the hit show “The Summer I Turned Pretty” on Amazon Video, so he is no stranger to playing heartthrobs on the big screen, which will bring in some extra, usually enthusiastic female, audience members. Overall, the casting for this remake was perfect to bring back the beloved characters from the 2004 film, but played by new, young Hollywood talent. 

This movie was a tasteful mixture of the original movie, the Broadway show and new content brought in by writers. While a couple scenes were nearly exact replicas of the original, certain details were changed since the 2004 film, and even the Broadway show, to make this film a bit more socially acceptable and respected by this generation. Certain lines, phrases and song lyrics were altered for the good of the young minds so easily influenced by things in the media. While the movie is still called “Mean Girls,” writers wanted to make sure all the nasty comments in the film were comedic enough to not become normalized by younger audience members. At the end of the day, this story is about learning how to respect others and yourself as you grow up, and writers did an incredible job of getting that message across. 

Director Tina Fey also revised her role from the original movie as math teacher, Mrs. Norbury. Fey’s responsibilities have upgraded since the original flick, as both actor and director of the new release. Fey is quite experienced with directing comedy movies throughout the past decade, but her familiarity with the “Mean Girls” storyline made her the perfect choice to direct the remake. Not only was her acting in the new movie absolutely hilarious, her directing made a huge difference in keeping the same vibe from the original. 

There isn’t too much negative to say about this movie, but die-hard Mean Girls fans might be disappointed by the decent-sized number of original iconic lines left out of the new film. “Mean Girls” is known for its numerous iconic lines and phrases throughout the film, and while the remake incorporated a lot of those lines into its scripts, quite a few were absent from the remake, which could become an issue for some OG fans. Just be aware your favorite iconic line from the 2004 hit might not have made a comeback for the remake. 

Due to its incredible casting and nostalgic feel, yet modernized aspects, this film deserves a 9.5/10 rating. Overall it was an incredible film. Even without ever seeing the original, the music was incredible and the comedic sassiness of these characters was hit right on the head by the young actors on the big screen. “Mean Girls” has set a high bar for other films to beat this year, and it’s only January.

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    RohannaJan 17, 2024 at 11:56 PM

    Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a good mixture of the Broadway show and movie. Fair review overall, I can get down with this ✨️