The first thing that I want to talk about here is the fact that Mean Girls 2024 is a musical. Some people did not know this as trailers didn’t show any songs from the film. For some reason, studios have been shying away from promoting musical movies for what they are.
The same thing happened to Wonka. It is weird because films such as La La Land and The Greatest Showman were very successful. Either way, like I said, this is a musical and I feel that will have an essential part in how people feel about this movie.
The new Mean Girls film isn’t exactly a remake of the 2004 classic but more of an adaptation of the Broadway show that ran from 2018 to 2020. Having said that, we still get tons of callbacks, lines, and even scenes that are sometimes word for word from the original film. This quickly does become a problem, but more of that later.
The story is the same. Cady goes from being homeschooled in Africa to being in a public high school in the suburbs. She meets the elite group of the school known as “The Plastics” who are run by their queen bee leader Regina George. Once Cady falls for Regina’s ex-boyfriend, she gets caught between real friends and fake ones.
The Singing and What Works
The strongest aspect of Mean Girls 2024 is the songs and singing. The music throughout the movie does a great job of helping the movie flow along. There is never a song that feels random or out of place. The singing is also top-notch from just about everyone here. Renee Rapp and Auli’i Cravalho show off their powerful vocal ranges throughout the film.
If the music is the strongest aspect of the film, the strongest character and most memorable thing is Renee Rapp as Regina George. She is an amazing singer and performer and one of the only ones in this movie that seems to create a fresh character. She plays Regina differently from the original and she holds her own against Rachel McAdams. There are times in this movie when I understood how cruel Regina was but I still really wanted to be her friend.
What Doesn’t Work?
The original Mean Girls movie has become iconic. Extremely quotable and merchandise sold everywhere. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and I challenge whoever reads this to a trivia contest. Naturally, it would be difficult to not compare this movie to the 2024 one. It becomes even more difficult when this new movie does so much to remind you of the original.
When the musical performances are happening, the movie is solid. When we have to have dialogue and tell a story, it seems like 80 percent of this movie is nodding and winking at the camera while quoting iconic quotes from an overall better movie. This is the biggest problem that becomes a distraction in the movie.
There is nothing wrong with having callbacks or wanting to remind us of the original film. The problem is it isn’t done creatively or very well. Instead of fully being its own thing, we get a somewhat amateur feeling version. A scene would happen with word-for-word dialogue from the original and most of the time it just feels phoned in. Remember this scene you loved? Remember when this character said this iconic line? Let’s do it again but worse and mediocrely.
Certain things are in the 2004 movie that wouldn’t fly today. Understandably so, this new film removes or changes things. This is fine but at the same time, it becomes a lose-lose situation as well. When something that would be deemed offensive is changed, the writing here doesn’t feel natural at times. The movie might change the joke but they don’t do it creatively enough. This makes some scenes feel awkward or incoherent.
This brings me to the last issue which is the jokes themselves. When a joke from the original film is told, the audience laughs. When something original was said or if a joke was said to cover up something offensive from the past, the theatre was silent. The theatre was honestly silent for the most part. It just feels like the writing could have been more clever.
Mean Girls (2024) is mostly enjoyable throughout especially when the musical performances are on screen. The singing is great and you can tell the cast is having a blast. Renee Rapp is no doubt going to continue to be a star and is the standout of the film by a mile.
When things quiet down though, it becomes a montage of the original movie’s best moments but all done inferiorly. If you enjoy musicals, this movie is worth a watch for the performances alone. If musicals aren’t your thing, you are better off watching the original. This one just doesn’t do enough to stand out even with the music. When it comes to Mean Girls, the original remains relevant and supreme. As for the new movie, while it can sit nearby, it just can’t sit with us.