If you don’t like musicals, you won’t like the new Mean Girls movie. If musicals don’t bother you, then you will enjoy this classic tale retold in the era of social media.
With a new screenplay by Tina Fey, the iconic high school comedy Mean Girls returns and is a fun take on the story with just enough similarities to appease those who loved the original, and enough changes to keep it from getting stale.
The new musical film is a fun time, with comedy that still has you laughing out loud and makes the newest iteration a great companion piece to the original 2004 film.
At 16, Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) arrives at her new suburban American home as innocent as a newborn gazelle on the African plains where she was raised. A lifetime of homeschooling and wilderness adventures has not prepared her for the jungle that awaits her at North Shore High School.
Her first cafeteria lunch looks like it might be her last until she is rescued from social oblivion by Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), an endearing pair of outsiders who take it upon themselves to introduce her to the social complexities of teenage life in America.
To everyone’s surprise, Cady falls in with the most exclusive clique in the school: “The Plastics”.
Over-the-top glamour girls Regina (Reneé Rapp), Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika) decide to make Cady over in true Plastic style.
But when Cady admits to a crush on Regina’s ex, Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), her newfound friend nips the blossoming romance in the bud, and Cady turns to Janis and Damian for help waging a lowdown, winner-take-all battle against her rival.
The newest movie is filled with eye-popping visuals and subversive Gen Z humour.
It in many ways harkens back to the peak era of comedies because numerous times there were moments while watching when many cinemagoers burst out laughing.
If there is one skill Tina Fey hasn’t lost since first scripting the original film, it is the ability to be funny.
Mean Girls is also the feature-film debut of directing duo Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez jr.
The duo do a very solid job. While the story does feel rushed in some parts, it still makes sense and can stand on its own.
The original film made stars of the original cast, and the new film has a number of up-and-coming stars. The standout is definitely Reneé Rapp as the head mean girl Regina George.
She has the benefit of having played the role on Broadway when it was a stage musical, but that aside, Rapp also happens to be one of the brightest new pop stars.
Her debut album was a massive success in 2023, and this film just further shows off her vocal skills. While music is her first love, she has the ability to be a successful comedy actress if she wants.
The rest of the cast does a great job and everyone has their moment to shine.
The film takes what was a film lead by one person in 2004 and makes it into an ensemble film where everyone gets something to do, and the film doesn’t lose steam or fall flat because of it.
The music featured is an ebullient pop- and-rock-inflected soundtrack, and it suits the tone of the story, while the dance sequences light up the big screen with even the featured dancers having their moment to shine.
There is a lot joy and warmth in the story, and this 2024 version really shows why the original became a classic, but also that there can be room to experimenting with a retelling of classic if there is enough consideration and care taken.
The film features a new exciting, diverse ensemble cast which includes Angourie Rice as Cady Heron, Reneé Rapp as Regina George, Auli’i Cravalio as Janis I'mi'ike, Jaquel Spivey as Damian Hubbard, Avantika as Karen Shetty, Bebe Wood as Gretchen Weiners, and Christopher Briney as Aaron Samuels, while fan favourites Tina Fey and Tim Meadows return in their original roles as Mrs Norbury and Principal Duvall respectively.
Mean Girls is now playing in cinemas.