The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

Mean Girls is Too Grool for School

Mean Girls is re-imagined in this musical comedy
Initially+released+on+January+12%2C+2024%2C+this+version+of+Mean+Girls+is+a+film+adaptation+of+the+Broadway+musical+from+2017.+The+film+runs+about+an+hour+and+52+minutes+and+is+now+available+to+stream+on+Paramount%2B.
Paramount Pictures
Initially released on January 12, 2024, this version of Mean Girls is a film adaptation of the Broadway musical from 2017. The film runs about an hour and 52 minutes and is now available to stream on Paramount+.

The story of Mean Girls has truly withstood the test of time with catchy quotes that are now TikTok sounds, outfits that defined the fashion scene of the late-2000s and today, a musical adaptation in 2017, and now a movie version of the musical 20 years after the film’s initial release. Needless to say I had high expectations going into this movie – and I’m happy to say it was very fetch.

This musical-comedy adaptation follows the original plot of the 2004 film almost to a tee, with some scenes being the same line for line. The story begins when junior Cady Heron moves from being homeschooled in Kenya to North Shore High School in Illinois. Although Cady is incredibly smart, she is overwhelmed by the intense social scene of high school and struggles to fit in, until she meets Janis ‘Imi’ike and Damian Hubbard, two best friends who decide to help Cady figure out where she belongs. 

All seems well until Cady is introduced to an elite clique called the Plastics, which consists of nosy Gretchen Wieners, flirty Karen Shetty, and queen bee Regina George. The Plastics quickly welcome Cady into their group, but things get out of hand when Cady falls for Regina’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels, and must figure out how to navigate the chaos of their high school drama.

Standout performances from this film include Reneé Rapp as the notorious drama queen, Regina George, and Auli’i Cravalho, known for voicing the titular character in Moana, as “art geek” Janis. Having previously played Regina on Broadway in 2019, Rapp consistently delivered soul-shivering vocals, especially in her iconic revenge song, “World Burn,” and perfectly depicted the cool girl with her scarily realistic, passive aggressive remarks.

In contrast to Rapp’s preppy Regina, Cravalho’s Janis was sarcastic and witty, yet clearly passionate about caring for her friends with crisp and beautiful vocals that helped drive the plot of the story. Cravalho was a constantly animated and refreshing presence in the film, and really highlighted the main message of the movie in her song, “I’d Rather Be Me,” in which she sang about the importance of being true to oneself.

Angourie Rice as Cady Heron expertly conveyed Cady’s transformation from an innocent new girl to a self-absorbed Plastic, and although her vocals were not the strongest, she more than made up for it with the comedy she brought to this iconic character. 

Bebe Wood and Avantika as the beloved Gretchen and Karen respectively were a delight to watch as well. Their comedic timing and snappy dialogue were very reminiscent of the original movie, which contributed to the nostalgic tone of the film. 

Last but most certainly not least, Jaquel Spivey as the flamboyant Damian was definitely an audience favorite, with subtle fourth-wall breaks, smooth vocals, and hilarious one-liners. However, I was confused as to why Damian’s comedic number “Stop” was left out of this movie as Spivey definitely had the voice and the physical comedy to flawlessly execute this song and add some more vibrance to his character.

Although there are many ways in which one could compare this film to the original, the most notable difference is obviously the incorporation of musical numbers. This movie did not include all the songs from the musical, however, it did include quite a few, but this time featuring more pop and alternative instrumentals. 

The transitions from the scenes into songs were also consistently creative and impressive, and could be as grand as the opening of a garage door to the plains of Africa to as simple as a shift in lighting, similar to what might occur in a stage production. The musical numbers definitely made each moment of the film more intense, which works well for a story that is so based around drama.

Another unique element of this film was the incorporation of social media into the plot. In the original movie, social media was not nearly as prominent in the lives of teenagers as it is now, and this movie definitely reflected this shift through videos of influencers and other characters commenting on the events of the film through the lens of TikTok and Instagram posts. 

Although some might call it odd to include these well-known platforms as part of the story, I think it would be unrealistic not to include social media in the setting of a current-day high school, and it further displays what the story of Mean Girls would look like through a more modern lens.

Overall, this modern musical take on the 2000s gem is a lighthearted and entertaining watch for both fans of the Broadway show and the movie, deserving of a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Highlander
$210
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation supports the McLean High School's independent, award-winning news publication.

More to Discover
Donate to The Highlander
$210
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Highlander Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *