Well here we go again: another remake. However, this one is a bit different as we have a 2004 film (which is considered by many to be a classic) that was made into a Broadway musical in 2018, and in a bit of a twist, this remake of Mean Girls tries to add then musical numbers, but does it all work out in the end?
Samantha Jayne (Vanity) and Arturo Perez Jr. (Dan Miller) co-direct this cast that includes Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Tina Fey, Avantika, Auli’i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Tim Meadows, Christopher Briney, and Bebe Wood. The story remains of Cady Heron (Rice), who is the new girl at North Shore High School and is having issues fitting in. She makes friends with a group of girls called “the plastics” led by Regina George (Rapp) on the insistence of “art kids” Janis (Cravalho) and Damian (Spivey) to get information for them, and as she starts to like a boy named Aaron (Briney) she finds out he is Regina’s ex. After seeing Regina’s true colors, what follows is Cady’s revenge plot that comes with consequences for everyone.
There is no way around it, so in comparison to the 2004 film, I liked how there were updates to keep the story relevant to a 2024 audience. It was also interesting to see how in some points, it film stopped real-time action to add songs, giving the feeling of the singer’s inner dialogue coming front and center instead of just what was going on at the time and then returning to what was there before the song. Along with that, it doesn’t work without a good cast, and I was impressed by the performances by the cast overall with returning actors like Fey and Meadows with great work by Heron and Rapp. In this one, my shout out goes to Avantika and Spivey who play the “airhead” sidekick to Regina in Karen and best friend to Janis in Damian respectively.
With all of that, unfortunately my fear came true in a script that just fell flat. Even with the musical numbers, there was nothing new to the story outside of the newer references. Mean Girls did nothing for me and made me wonder why it was greenlit to begin with. It was originally scheduled to go straight to Paramount+, but I think the success of Barbie is what could have changed the studio’s mind. That may have been a mistake, but with the good performances from the supporting cast, I can at best only recommend seeing it in that format.