The 2024 Version of MEAN GIRLS Adapts the Popular Broadway Musical For the Big Screen

Now, before anyone cries foul at the idea of a 2024 remake of the classic 2004 comedy Mean Girls, this new take on Tina Fey’s universe is an adaptation of the Broadway musical show. Much like 2023’s The Color Purple, Mean Girls was first adapted as a stage musical. And like many other successful and popular stage musicals, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood got its hands on it.

I have never seen a stage production of Mean Girls, but I have always enjoyed the 2004 movie. As usual, I went into this screening blindly and hoped to be dazzled by a new and exciting take on the material. I found myself revisiting a near-identical story mixed in with musical numbers and a few changes regarding the characters, some jokes, and specific details here and there. At the same time, the new movie lacks some of the bite that made the 2004 Mean Girls so unforgettable.

Angourie Rice stars as Cady Heron, a young and naive teen who has spent most of her previous life homeschooled in Kenya while her mother (Jenna Fischer) researches there. Cady and her mother move back to the United States where Cady enrolls in Northshore High School. Awkward and feeling out of place, Cady manages to connect with classmates Janis (Auliʻi Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), who take her in and decide to show her the ropes. First and foremost, Janis and Damian break down the various cliques in the school but are sure to warn her to tread carefully around the dreaded and feared mean girls they call “The Plastics.”

Despite their warnings, Cady eventually befriends the trio of the school’s “most popular” girls, led by Regina George (Reneé Rapp). As Cady becomes more indoctrinated into the exclusive clique, she becomes more and more like them, eventually alienating Janis and Damian. However, things get more complicated and troublesome when Regina discovers that Cady has a mad crush on her ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney).

With an adapted screenplay by Tina Fey, directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. deliver an entertaining and often hilarious movie with this musical version of Mean Girls. I found myself enjoying most of the songs, though a few of them left me flat. Still, I enjoyed revisiting this world and liked this new cast’s interpretations of the characters. The movie’s direction is mostly solid, though some musical numbers could’ve been shot better.

I enjoyed Angourice Rice’s performance as Cady Heron. I found her to be a more believable naive and awkward girl at the story’s beginning than Lindsey Lohan in the original movie. She also does a great job of transitioning into a plastic mean girl who is a clone of Regina George. And to top it off, she is not a bad singer either.

As the queen bee, Regina George, Reneé Rapp is fantastic. She exudes charisma, can turn ferocious at the snap of a finger, and knows how to command her scenes with great prowess. As expected, much like the original movie, this version certainly has its scene stealers. First is the dynamic duo Janis and Damian, played exceptionally by Auliʻi Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey. Janis and Damian not only serve as the movie’s narrators but are also the primary source of humor in the film with their razor-sharp wit and outstanding comic timing. The other scene-stealer would be Busy Phillips, an absolute riot as Regina’s mother, a single parent who wishes to be considered cool by her daughter’s friends.

Overall, I liked this musical adaptation and highly recommend it for viewing on the big screen. If you are not a fan of musicals, then this movie is not for you. For those who both enjoy musicals and love the original movie, then this film is tailor-made for you.

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