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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The new ‘Mean Girls’ is a hard watch for long time fans

Mean+Girls+%282024%29+released+Jan.+12+in+theaters+nationwide.
Paramount Pictures
Mean Girls (2024) released Jan. 12 in theaters nationwide.

Fourteen years after “Mean Girls” debuted and forever altered pop culture, the Broadway musical was created. Four years later, a film adaption of the musical hit theaters.

The original 2004 film came from comedian Tina Fey who starred as Ms. Norbury and reprised her role in the recent adaptation. Fey got the idea to create this film based on a book she read titled “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman.

Like the original film, the musical comedy follows new student Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) as she finds herself part of a popular group of girls called the Plastics, run by Regina George (Reneé Rapp). Heron quickly gets into trouble when she begins crushing on George’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney).

Expectations for the reprisal were high. According to Entertainment Weekly, the 2024 film made $28 million in its opening weekend, shockingly surpassing the original film’s $24.4 million. While the remake brought in more money on its opening weekend, its reviews do not hold the same praise given to the original film. The original still receives high praise 20 years later whereas the remake has received mixed reviews across audiences since its release in theaters Jan. 12.

In an effort to depict today’s social media, there were several social media montages — including a cameo from rapper Megan Thee Stallion. While the film was on the right track to better fit modern social media standards and technology usage, it is an element that did not add much to the plot. The social media inputs were just too much and were not done well enough to justify being there.

Another lacking element of the film was the soundtrack — arguably one of the most important pieces of the film. Songs such as “Sexy” by Avantika as Karen Shetty and “Stupid With Love” by Rice as Cady Heron were only memorable because of how terribly annoying they were. Others such as “Someone Gets Hurt” by Rapp as Regina George and “I’d Rather Be Me” by Auli’i Cravalho as Janis ‘Imi’ike were of the few songs that actually contributed to the musical aspect of the film.

Rice overall could not vocally compare to her co-stars Rapp and Cravalho. Rice was not vocally strong at any point in the film, something made more noticeable by Rapp’s renditions throughout.

Though the soundtrack was lacking, the acting made up for it — slightly. Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey, who played Damian Hubbard, did an excellent job at bringing humor to the film. Rapp was excellent in her portrayal of Regina George and was arguably the best in this film. The same cannot be said for Rice’s portrayal of Heron. She lacked personality and talent throughout — begging the question of whether she was the right actress for the role. Briney’s portrayal of Aaron Samuels was average and subdued.

To say Avantika’s Karen Shetty was overdone is an understatement. Shetty is supposed to be unintelligent and unaware, but this portrayal overdid it completely to the point where her character was just annoying. Bebe Wood’s Gretchen Weiners is another that did not meet the mark. Wood’s portrayal of the dramatic Weiners certainly did not meet the quality of the original, but it was not as lacking as some of her counterparts.

Either on its own or compared to the original, this 2024 adaptation was overall subpar and lacking in more ways than one. It contained many moments that were hard to watch due to second-hand embarrassment, though there were entertaining and amusing moments as well. If it were not for Rapp, Spivey and Cravalho’s roles, the film could be considered a complete disaster. The new “Mean Girls” is a film that certainly did not live up to the original.

About the Contributor
Grace Sullivan, Staff Writer
Grace Sullivan is a senior communication major. Grace is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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