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Mean Girls Adaptation Lacks Spark of Original Movie

Mean Girls,  the highly anticipated adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical hit the big screen  Jan. 12, 2024. Directed by Arturo Perez Jr. and Samantha Jayne, the film left viewers with mixed reactions. 

Mean Girls follows Cady Heron, played by Angourie Rice, a sixteen-year-old who is trying to adjust to public high school after being homeschooled in Kenya for most of her life. Along the way, she befriends Janice and Damian, played by Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey, with whom she forms an elaborate plan to pretend to be one of the mean girls, or “the plastics”. However, in the process, she becomes more and more “plastic” herself, and nearly loses her only true friends. 

Renee Rapp’s performance as head mean girl Regina George was phenomenal–perhaps even more realistic than Rachel McAdams’s portrayal of Regina in the original 2004 film–as viewers could truly believe she was an intimidating mean girl. Her song “Meet the Plastics” embodied this. 

The movie also featured impressive vocals and immersive cinematography and overall stayed true to the original.

Despite this, many of the characters seemed to fall flat in comparison to their presence in the original movie and Broadway show. Though Rice played a convincing role of the nerdy new girl, her portrayal of one of the mean girls lacked the spark that most people associate “plastic” Cady with.. The same can be said about Bebe Wood’s character Gretchen Weiners, whose big personality seemed absent throughout the movie. 

Though Mean Girls attempted to take a more modern approach to the story, it ended up feeling like a forceful integration of Gen Z humor, instead of something that teenagers today can actually relate to. The “TikTok” references especially seemed overdone. 

On top of that, many fans of the Broadway show were upset that the movie was barely marketed as a musical, and instead appeared as a regular adaptation. 

Even without comparing it to the original movie or to the Broadway musical, the film is quite mediocre, but a good option for those seeking a lighthearted comedy.

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