Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Photo: Mean Girls-Source IMDb.png

Get in loser, we’re going to the movies! “Mean Girls” (2004) has been an essential of high school movies for 20 years now, then it became a musical back in 2017 and hit Broadway before being shut down pre-COVID era. On Jan. 12, the newest edition to the “Mean Girls” collection premiered in theaters, this time, inspired by both the 2004 movie and the 2018 soundtrack from the Broadway musical.

This movie has been getting an intense amount of feedback since it was released: people either love this film or they love to hate it. In the first week, many people criticized the movie for being a musical and for its casting. Those people can’t sit with us. I was so excited to watch this movie the first time I heard it was coming out. I have always loved “Mean Girls” and the soundtrack, and I went into the theater eager to watch this.

The opening scene begins with Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damien (Jaquel Spivey) with the song “Cautionary Tale.” Our introduction to Cady (Angourie Rice) was quick during this scene too. Janis and Damien were some of my favorite on-screen duos. Both of them have such powerful voices that filled the theater every time they sang.

This movie also had a very unique filming style — they included POVs of them on their cameras and TikTok — using the idea that they were lip-syncing the soundtrack for some of the songs utilized throughout the movie.

Once I saw the return of Tina Fey and Tim Meadows, this edition felt closer to the original film. There were a couple of references to the original movie that made it feel even more nostalgic going back to North Shore High.

Early in the film, we meet the plastics: they’re shiny, fake and hard. Reneé Rapp played a great Regina in this version of “Mean Girls,” a role she has already played while on Broadway back in 2019. Bebe Wood also played a great Gretchen Weiners, especially with her iconic lines like, “You can’t sit with us!” and “That’s so fetch!” Though Avantika Vandanapu is a great actress, she played Karen in a very over-the-top way compared to the original character portrayed by Amanda Seyfried back in 2004.

I just want to say, that was not Aaron Samuels. Aaron plays such a big part in why Cady begins to fail math quizzes and change up her look to appear more like the plastics and take down Regina. But Aaron didn’t, if at all, have more than 15 minutes of screen time in the movie. He felt like a very important side character, like Gretchen and Karen, who were also shadowed in their own roles. Even though they played sidekicks to Regina, they had very limited lines besides Gretchen’s song, “What’s with me?” and “Sexy” by Vandanapu, which was by far my favorite scene in the movie. I loved the remix they did to the song and the dance number mid-song, and I am not surprised that the dance break is going viral on TikTok.

Cady has also been trending, but not in the best way. There has been loads of criticism towards Rice playing Cady Heron. So many of the songs that she is featured in sounded flat or autotuned, especially during the number, “Revenge Party.” The songs needed to be sung at a quick, upbeat rhythm with lots of energy and pizazz, but she toned all of them down. It would have been a better idea to have her lip-sync her songs rather than include such a monotone voice in a musical.

One song that has been popular is “World Burn,” sung by Rapp, with over five million streams on Spotify. The way they transitioned into this scene was great; the eye contact through the screen, the high vocals, everything was amazing.

Nothing was more iconic than the math competition scene. Opening with Lindsay Lohan as the moderator was everything I could have wanted in a cameo from the original Cady Heron. It was a great wind down to the movie before the ending number.

The 2024 rendition of “Mean Girls” is another addition to fun campy movies for high schoolers. Even looking around at the cast’s wardrobe, everyone was dressed like an actual Gen Z student. I believe we need more silly, fun movies; so many movies now are very serious with everything happening in current events.

The full soundtrack to the film is available on Spotify. Be sure to look out for news on when the movie will be streaming on Paramount+ in a few weeks.

 


Lauren Flynn-Miller is a third-year Interdisciplinary Studies major with minors in Journalism, Media & Culture, and Professional & Technical Writing. LF954013@wcupa.edu

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