Lauren Sellman, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Renée Rapp, Bebe Wood, and Avantika in “Mean Girls” 2024. Photo// Jojo Whilden, IMDb
The iconic high school drama, “Mean Girls,” is making a triumphant return to the big screen with a new musical that promises to entertain once again. Fans of the original cult classic had high expectations for a fresh take on the early 2000s film, but were these expectations met?
When recently homeschooled Cady Heron, played by the talented Angourie Rice, finds herself entangled in the intriguing world of high school cliques, her life is turned upside down. Encouraged by her outcasted friends Damien (Jaquel Spivey) and Janice (Auli’i Cravalho), Cady embarks on a mission to infiltrate the school’s elite girl group, the Plastics. This teenage comedy is a rollercoaster of revenge, self-discovery, and the relatable pains of navigating high school.
Renée Rapp embodies the iconic role of Regina George, bringing a commanding presence that exudes power and confidence throughout the film. Her portrayal adds a new dimension to the character, ending with an emotional level of understanding between Regina and Cady that may have been missed in the first film.
While the audience’s reviews of the musical numbers are mixed, the creative execution of each song is what ties the scenes together seamlessly. Renée Rapp’s powerful performances of “Meet the Plastics” and “Someone Gets Hurt” stand out as highlights, showcasing the combination of dramatic flare, choreography, and impressive vocal talent.
The movie successfully blends references from the original film with the Broadway show. Scenes come alive as characters spontaneously burst into iconic musical numbers, complete with choreographed dances, costumes, dramatic lighting, and other effects reminiscent of a live Broadway show.
Recognizing the need for an update, the new adaptation modernizes the humor of “Mean Girls”. The film moves away from stereotypical jabs that characterized the original in the early 2000s, offering a more approachable take on insults and jokes that resonate better with today’s teenagers. The result is a witty and relevant script that captures the essence of high school life in the 21st century.
Incorporating the overarching presence of social media, the film explores how information can quickly spread and impact the characters’ reputations. The story highlights the double-edged sword of social platforms, showing how they can either help or harm different characters in the blink of an eye. This concept adds a layer of complexity to the story, reflecting the realities of today’s digitally connected world.
Breaking the fourth wall, Damien and Janice will often turn to the camera to address the audience directly. The hilarious duo explains the overall message of being yourself, being nonjudgmental, and not being mean for no reason.
From the elaborate musical numbers to the refreshed humor, this adaptation promises to resonate with fans of the original as well as a new generation of audiences.