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“Mean Girls” (2024) Review: When Less Is More

“Mean Girls” (2024) Review: When Less Is More

Yes, of course, we’re going to compare it to the original

 

 

Ah, Mean Girls. A cult favorite from the early 2000s that further solidified Lindsay Lohan as an actress of her generation, and gave us one-liners that we still use today: “Fetch,” “Get in, loser” and “On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”

 

The concerns with re-doing a classic are always the same: Can it hold up? Will it be better than the original? Will it resonate with its new audience while keeping the original satisfied?

 

 

You know the story: New girl Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) makes her debut to high school after being homeschooled her entire life. She meets and connects with resident artist Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and “too gay to function” Damian (Jaquel Spivey). During lunch, The Plastics—Regina George (Reneé Rapp) Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika Vandanapu)—see Cady and decide she’s just pretty and moldable enough to maybe join their group. 

 

What unfolds is high school chaos: girls turning on girls, boyfriend stealing, cheating on significant others, friendships ruined over party invitations, ridiculous trends, Halloween. And of course the adults that make high school so dramatic: the teacher keeps pushing you, the parents that don’t know what to do with you and the other parents that are honestly just living through you.

 

 

But let’s get to what makes Mean Girls (2024) different from the original. It’s a musical, of course, and social media is in every part of the film—it’s how people get cancelled, how trends start and how rumors fly. Regina George is outright bitchy and Karen has somehow lost more brain cells. Mean Girls (2024) is obviously sexier, and I’m not just talking about the Halloween costumes. 

 

Let’s talk a little bit about the music. Gretchen’s What’s Wrong With Me? and Janis’ I’d Rather Be Me are the stand out contenders in this film, the former a soft ballad and the latter a sort of rock anthem. But while you forget the other musical numbers quite quickly, you will remember the visual punch each one provides—because this is where the film really shines. Visually, nothing was sacrificed and no corners were cut.

 

 

It’s fun, it’s entertaining and the music is okay. It’s funny, and not just because the original jokes still hit a nerve. They make some pretty fun throwbacks to the 2004 film, too. But does it hold a candle to the original material? Call me a purist, but the answer is no. 

 

Reneé Rapp and Auli’i Cravalho are brilliant in their performances, but even they aren’t enough to carry the film. And while the characters are meant to be very stereotypical, everyone in this film is just so one-sided and so in-your-face (except Janis; I love her more in this iteration). There are no other dimensions to them, and the entire film just loses something because of it. And while it’s an ensemble cast, our protagonist Cady somehow fades into the background. 

 

Am I saying it’s a bad film? No, it isn’t. But the biggest risk you run in a remake is that there will be comparisons to the original—and in that sense, Mean Girls (2024) isn’t that amazing. Will the younger generation enjoy it? Yes, they will. After all, this is their film, not mine. 

 

And I’m okay with that. Time to get out, loser.

 

 

Art Alexandra Lara

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