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The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Movie review: ‘Mean Girls’

Inspired by the original 2004 “Mean Girls” and the 2018 soundtrack from the Broadway musical of the same name, Paramount Pictures crafted a fresh adaptation on the hit productions.
Kaitlyn Verde

On Jan. 12, the beloved “Mean Girls” film made its comeback; this time in a new way. Inspired by the original 2004 “Mean Girls” and the 2018 soundtrack from the Broadway musical of the same name, Paramount Pictures crafted a fresh adaptation on the hit productions.

Remaining true to the original film and musical, the 2024 reinterpretation centers around Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), a naïve teenage girl who relocates to the suburbs of Illinois with her scientist parents after years of living in Africa. 

Transitioning from being homeschooled to the daunting stage of public high school, Cady is lulled into an exclusive group of popular girls called “the Plastics.” Unaware of the consequences, Cady develops feelings for Aaron Samuels, queen bee Regina George’s ex-boyfriend, setting off a chain of events that lead to trouble.

One of the most memorable aspects of the new “Mean Girls” was that it featured an all-star cast with many recognizable faces. Reprising their roles from the 2004 film as Principal Duvall and Ms. Norbury were Tim Meadows and Tina Fey, respectively. Ashley Park, who played Gretchen Wieners in the “Mean Girls” Broadway musical, also made an appearance as the school’s French teacher.

More surprisingly, however, was the return of the original Cady Heron herself, Lindsay Lohan. She made an entrance unexpectedly near the end of the film as a Mathlete competition moderator. 

The remainder of the cast proved to be notable, showcasing numerous emerging names like Reneé Rapp, Avantika Vandnapu, Angourie Rice, and Christopher Brinley.

The opening scene of “Mean Girls” presents Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damien (Jaquel Spivey) with the song “Cautionary Tale.” Both Cady’s true friends, the two were a dynamic on-screen duo with voices that filled the theater in all of their songs.

Another incredible voice amongst the cast was Reneé Rapp, portraying the iconic role of Regina George. A rising musician, Rapp contributed much more to the movie than just acting. As the movie incorporated renditions of the Broadway musical songs, Rapp was featured in many of its soundtracks. Her powerful range and confidence truly encapsulated her character. 

“Reneé Rapp was a standout in the film and her voice was really impressive. She also has great comedic timing and was very fun to watch,” said Hills sophomore Caitlin Buckley.

“Mean Girls” featured a unique way of filming, including “POV’s” of them on their phones and on TikTok. According to Tina Fey, who also returned as a writer, her key goals for this new version of “Mean Girls” were for it to be “fun, fresh, and surprising.” The movie was filled with Generation-Z references and remarks, attesting to its large promotion directed towards young people.  

However, since its release, “Mean Girls” has received mixed reviews from critics. 

While much of the cast has been praised for their fun and entertaining performances, “one particular character,” according to the Quad, “has been trending, but not in the best way.” 

Angourie Rice, who plays the lead role of Cady Heron, has been the face of significant criticism. In many of Rice’s musical numbers such as “What ifs” or “Revenge Party,” her vocals have been scrutinized as heavily autotuned or flat, missing the mark of the lively and energetic rhythms found in the original musical.  

Another actor fans have been dissatisfied with is the “Summer I Turned Pretty” star, Chris Brinley, who played Aaron Samuels, Regina’s ex-boyfriend. Many fans have expressed discontent online regarding his hairstyle in the film and have even questioned so far as to his suitability for the role. Furthermore, Brinley’s lack of singing parts and reduced screen time compared to the original Aaron have left fans puzzled.

Product placement has also faced major backlash amongst viewers. The popular makeup and cosmetics brand, e.l.f. Beauty, Inc, was displayed on several occasions throughout the movie, such as when Cady referenced an e.l.f. product shade or when an e.l.f. lip product was seen falling into a sink. Many Tiktok users have commented that the brand’s appearance was almost too-obvious and did not feel at all natural. One person commented that “the movie itself was a long elf ad.”

Despite facing several criticisms, “Mean Girls” has not received entirely negative commentary, with some viewers hailing it a hilarious and enjoyable movie. “Mean Girls” has nonetheless achieved great success, surpassing over 130 million dollars at the box office, proving that it has indeed “made fetch happen.”

Overall, “Mean Girls,” whether loved or hated, made an indelible impression for new movies in 2024. 


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Alanna Karuru
Alanna Karuru, Staff Writer

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