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The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Mean Girls Movie Review: Still Fetch?

Photo+Credit%3A+Paramount
Photo Credit: Paramount

   The shade of pink is different, the cast is different, and the songs are different, but is the quality the same? A 2024 rendition of the 2000s classic “Mean Girls” and the 2018 Broadway Musical was released on the 12th this January.

  According to Billboard, the release of Mean Girls (2024) earned $28 million on its debut weekend, with a budget of $36 million.

   Viewers have rated the 2004 movie a solid 84% rotten tomato score and an IMDB score of 7.1/10, followed with mostly positive responses. Meanwhile, the new version is rated a 71% rotten tomato score and an IMDB score of 6.3/10, which is a noticeable decrease of approximately 10%.

SONGS

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   As the lights of the theater dimmed, the movie begins with Janice and Damian recording a video and singing “A Cautionary Tale” to give the audience a musical narration. Played by Auli’i Cravalho, Janice’s vocal ability was definitely on the strong side as she could reach the high notes with ease, while providing a distinct personality that suited Janice’s character. 

   Following “A Cautionary Tale,” the narrative transitions to Cady, played by Angourie Rice, and her mother in Africa. According to Mean Girls the Musical (2018), Cady is supposed to sing “It Roars,” however, the original introduction song was replaced by “What Ifs,” a blander and toned song that doesn’t add towards Cady’s energetic personality at all. 

   Similar to this, Rice’s rendition of “Stupid With Love” lacked the enthusiasm present in its Broadway counterpart. The song felt slow-paced and less exciting, despite Cady having a fun teenage crush on a guy in her Calculus class. The new movie seemed to drain away all of Cady’s bubbly personality in the 2004 movie and was short of the exuberance of the songs in the 2018 musical.

   Jaquel Spivey, who plays Damian, had considerable singing talent in the movie, especially in songs like “Revenge Party” and “Apex Predator” where he is accompanied by Janice. In the original Broadway soundtrack, Cady and Janice were initially performing a duet in “Apex Predator,” but in the new rendition, Damian replaced Cady’s part. This decision worked as Cravalho’s and Spivey’s voices harmonized nicely, but I had hoped that some of the Damian-centered songs like “Where Do You Belong” and “Stop” would have been in the new movie.

   The singer that stood out of the cast was, of course, Reneé Rapp, whose powerful and charismatic voice added to Regina’s charm. By playing Regina George in the 2018 musical, Rapp succeeds in vocalizing Regina’s emotions throughout the new rendition. In “Someone Gets Hurt,” Rapp skillfully portrays Regina’s manipulation over Aaron, evoking anger to the viewers as Regina steals Aaron away from Cady. Furthermore, her phenomenal performance of “World Burn” displayed the dominance of the “Queen Bee of Northshore High,” leaving the audience in awe.

   While “Meet the Plastics” sounded fantastic with Rapp’s vocals, I couldn’t help but notice that Gretchen and Karen didn’t have any singing roles during the song, despite their vocal abilities. It was more like “Meet the Plastic” instead of an introduction to all three. 

ICONOGRAPHY

   Aside from some of the singing, one of the biggest let downs of the film was the costume design. In the scene where Regina asks Cady to tell Aaron that “his hair looks sexy pushed back,” she is wearing lime green, baggy parachute-pants. The line she said was typical of Regina and the acting was acceptable, but I was visually confused because the outfit just wasn’t Regina. 

   The costume designers were not in touch with the generation in high school now, and it shows. Some of the looks were adapted to the new decade, and albeit cute, but they weren’t iconic like the 2004 looks were. The iconography of the plastics focuses on the unattainable beauty standards forced on teenage girls, but the new looks seem to forget that. In the 2004 version, the outfits look expensive and highlight their figures, but in the new version, they look cheap and inclusive to people of different body types. Although inclusive may not be a word used in a negative connotation, the outfits they wear forget the plot point that this example is supposed to be unrealistic and people who follow dress this way should not be the standard for all girls. 

ACTING

   The casting directors seemed to be doing a limbo between finding actors who can sing and actors who can act. Unfortunately, it seems as if they were unable to find anyone who could do both well. The traits of the main characters were simultaneously over-done and under-done. Karen, played by Avantika Vandanapu, was dumb. Too dumb. In the 2004 Mean Girls, Karen is undoubtedly simple minded, but she occasionally hits hilarious one-liners like the iconic “If you’re from Africa, why are you white?” It is difficult to tell whether the writers thought this line was offensive or they just wanted to cut it out, but either way, the discrepancy between the two Karens is in the script writing. 

   The 2004 writers cleverly came up with dumb one-liners they knew would make the audience laugh, but the 2024 writers seem to have the same IQ level as the Karen they were writing. Most of Karen’s lines in the film were dry and the humor relied heavily on the inclusion of social media, especially TikTok, which was cringe-worthy. 

   The same went for Regina, who was a ‘mean girl’ but not mean enough. The stakes seemed low for the entire movie as the cut-throat nature of teenage girls evident in the first movie was relatively absent. The insults in the ‘Burn Book’ were not as offensive and it dampens the point of the movie. In an iconic scene in the climax of the original movie, Regina spreads sheets of the Burn Book all over the school, but in the new version, she simply places the book on the floor and walks away providing what can only be referred to as an incredibly anticlimactic climax. Rachel McAdams, who plays the original Regina, exudes an aura of evil and judgment, but the torch passed onto Rapp was dimmer, as she just didn’t carry herself the way McAdams did in 2004. Rapp played Regina George on Broadway, so her vocals were undeniably masterful, but the same can not be said of her acting.

FINAL VERDICT

6/10

 If this movie were to come out without the pomp and circumstance of the beloved “Mean Girls” name, it would likely have been a flop. The addition of Broadway actors made certain songs memorable, but this was tamped down by the mediocre singing of the rest of the cast. The best acting was in the 2004 version and the best singing was in the 2018 version; it would have been best to keep them separate instead of making a so-so remake. The brilliance of the original movie was taking the seemingly mundane topic of high school girls friendships’ and exploring the complexities behind it through humor and dramatics. The new movie misses the nuances of the characters and eliminates plot lines of the original movie that made it so hilariously crazy. 

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About the Contributors
Audrey Baime, Bounds Broken Editor
Audrey Baime is the Bounds Broken editor on Granite Bay Today. This is her first year on the Granite Bay Today staff.
Emily Lau, Assistant Editor
Emily is a sophomore and Assistant Features Editor. This is her second year on the Gazette Staff.

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