Sofia De La Espriella
Many people don't know that this MEAN GIRLS is a musical!
There have been three previous MEAN GIRLS adaptations: MEAN GIRLS (2004), MEAN GIRLS 2 (2011), and MEAN GIRLS on Broadway (2018). It was largely speculated that this movie was going to be exactly like the first movie, with the same plot and specific characters. Although this is true, the 2024 movie remake was turned into a musical and doesn’t necessarily add anything to the franchise, but at least there’s singing and dancing! Some may say that this movie is too self-aware to obtain an indulgent “Guilty Pleasure” ranking. Personally, it is too sanitized for me, and didn't have the same twisted feeling I got from the first movie.
Usually, with musicals, the songs are supposed to enhance different emotions in a way words cannot explain. However, a lot of these songs blended in with each other and the main message you got was “Ha ha, high school sucks and everyone does, too”. This movie concept is just so overused and feels too forced to be relatable, and I felt I couldn’t connect with the characters and what they were going through.
Creating another MEAN GIRLS project means you would have to fill some big shoes for the high expectations of the existing fanbase going into this project. Some songs can feel dull and unforgettable, but it was amazing seeing these actors with very natural and talented voices. One example of such talent is the actress, Auli'i Cravalho, playing Janis Sarkisian. Yes, it does seem unlikely that Janis from MEAN GIRLS is singing because it's not like the character from the 2004 movie, but it was a cool add-on. Auli'i was the actress and voice actor in the successful animated Disney movie, MOANA.
MEAN GIRLS (2024) starts with the backstory of Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) who has lived in Kenya her whole life due to her zoologist mom. When Cady’s mother accepts a job in Chicago, Cady has to jump into public school for her junior year after being homeschooled her entire life, and predictably, it’s a culture shock.
Cady is taken under the wing of two classmates (Janis and Damian) who tell her all about North Shore High School including the iconic trio, the “plastics”: Regina George (Reneé Rapp), Gretchen Weiners (Bebe Wood), and Karen Shetty (Avantika Vandanapu). During lunch, she is then invited to sit with the “plastics”. Janis and Damian see this as an opportunity to create a plan to get back at “Queen Bee” Regina who has spread rumors that Janis was a pyromaniac lesbian in the 8th grade.
Essentially, the movie treads familiar territory to the first one, but updated for a more “aware” present-day audience. The acting sometimes takes you out of the film as the lines are not delivered with the same punch as in the original movie.
As expected, with this 2024 MEAN GIRLS development, 20 years since the original movie, there is a lot of modernization, such as slang, social media, and the “high schoolers” dress style. Of course, it's hard to mimic a spot-on wardrobe of high school kid's outfits, some of the outfits were very questionable. For example, in one scene Regina is shown wearing bright neon yellow plastic-like material pants which seems very out of character. The plastic’s clothing in the movie is known for being stylish and chic-looking rather than trendy.
Overall, the film was enjoyable, upbeat, and unpredictably entertaining. There is no general point in revisiting and adding more to the MEAN GIRLS world. However, if you want to watch a feel-good movie coupled with some laughter then you'll find yourself rooting for Cady to get her “good ending” even though you predicted all along what would happen.