For the second time in the last month, a book that has been turned into a film that has been turned into a musical that has been turned into a film of the musical of the film that is based on the book has been released.
Need a flow chart there? It’s OK. It took me a minute too. Add to that the shock that it’s been TWENTY YEARS since Mean Girls entered the collective consciousness, and we will walk through this thing together. Get those old SAT techniques ready; here we go…
This is the same story of new girl to North Shore High Cady Heron (Angourie Rice via Lindsay Lohan) trying to fit in starting with where to sit at lunch. She is taken in by “art kids” Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey via Daniel Franzese) and Janis (Auli’I Caravalho via Lizzy Caplan), who convince her to infiltrate the popular girls to get information that can be used against them in Regina George (Reneé Rapp via Rachel McAdams), Gretchen (Bebe Wood via Lacey Chabert), and Karen (Avantika via Amanda Seyfried). On the way, she deals with her feelings for Regina’s ex in Aaron (Christopher Briney via Jonathan Bennett) which could either give Cady what she wants or draw her deeper into agreement with the feelings of revenge by Janis and Damian.
Tim Meadows and Tina Fey reprise their roles from the original film as faculty along with a couple of surprise cameos that I will not spoil, even if they already may be out there. In full disclosure, I had never seen the original film or the stage production before going into this version of Mean Girls, armed only with the knowledge of the pop culture references that have come from it. Those that I have are fully present here and judging by the reactions of the crowd at the screening I attended, it hit all of the bullet points. I was intrigued to overhear a conversation on the way to the car where the comparisons were made to the musical specifically saying that there were differences but nothing to really write home about.
The music itself is catchy and really encapsulates the high school vibe of the story itself, which is not an everyday thing. A lot of times, musicals (even based on popular material) try to shoehorn in “that Broadway style” in music that completely does not mesh well with the aesthetics around it or tries to be a Disney film, but Mean Girls breaks the mold on both of those things into dust. With an insanely talented cast that brings Jeff Richmond’s music in a way that had me ready for the next song after the current one ended, and this is a film that can truly be enjoyed by just about everyone. And I truly mean talented; every member of this cast is so good that I cannot give a standout performance. This is truly the ensemble that the original established and even makes sure it stays relevant. I cannot recommend this film enough for an enjoyable time at the theater for the teen set and older. Honestly, I enjoyed this so much I am going to go back to the 2004 film and look forward to trying to see the live production the next time it comes through town!