Mean Girls Review

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Plot: Cady Heron is a hit with the Plastics, an A-list girl clique at her new school. But everything changes when she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.

Film: Mean Girls

Directors: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr. 

Writer: Tina Fey

Starring: Angourie Rice, ReneƩ Rapp, Auli'i Cravalho, Avantika, Bebe Wood

One of the best things about the original Mean Girls is how quotable it is, and in the original script there isn’t a single line of wasted dialogue and having seen that film at least once a year for as long as I can remember, I can recite most of it. With this adaptation, unfortunately, you won’t have that experience because a lot of the lines are recycled and sensitivity checked (socially ruiness replacing the social suicide line in reference to joining mathletes), and while you’ll get a temporary dopamine boost from the line for line translation -in the end it isn’t the same watching experience. 

With that out of the way, let’s move onto the positives, namely ReneĆ© Rapp. It’s no secret that Rapp was born to play the role of Regina George, every scene she steals and her songs were undoubtedly the best performances -which is actually a real problem that Mean Girls has because Regina is meant to be the villain of the story. It’s incredibly hard to side with heroine Cady when they cast a much more charismatic and vocally talented actress in the role of the ‘unlikeable’ queen bee. Angourie Rice’s Cady really should have stayed in Kenya.

In fact, I don’t have a bad word to say about the rest of the cast. Avantika’s Karen and Bebe Wood’s Gretchen stepped out of Regina’s shadow enough to shine on their own in their songs ‘What’s Wrong With Me?’ and ‘Sexy’, very different performances but highlight the distinctive characters perfectly. Auli’I Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey as Janis and Damian made the characters their own and even repeating iconic lines from the original didn’t feel out of place. The song Apex Predator, which is originally a Cady and Janis song, was adapted for Janis and Damian and narratively it worked completely, though taking a song away from Cady didn’t help with her use in the film.

Is this a perfect adaptation? No, it isn’t. It is however fun and makes the musical itself more accessible and people who have never heard the soundtrack will hear it now. This is a version of the film that I know I’ll likely get plenty of rewatch out of when it comes onto streaming, even if the original will remain supreme.

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