The Broadway musical based on the 2004 teen comedy is adapted for the big screen in Mean Girls. Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) has recently returned to the United States after living in Kenya with her mother (Jenna Fischer) and is enrolled in North Shore High School. Cady quickly befriends outcasts Janis ‘Imi'ike (Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey), who teach Cady about the various cliques at the school. They particularly warn her about “The Plastics” consisting of the Queen Bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp), along with Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood) and Karen Shetty (Avantika). When Regina invites her to hang out with The Plastics, it allows Cady to spy on them for Janis and Damian. However, the friendship with Regina becomes a feud when she finds out Cady is attracted to her ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney).
Mean Girls (2024) Synopsis
Mean Girls is a musical teen comedy written by Tina Fey and directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., based on the 2017 Broadway musical, which was adapted from the 2004 film, which in turn was inspired by the 2002 book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Australian actress Angourie Rice (The Nice Guys, Spider-Man: Far from Home) steps into the lead role of Cady Heron, originally played by Lindsay Lohan in the 2004 film. She is joined by singer Reneé Rapp reprising her Broadway role of Regina George, which was originally the breakthrough role for Rachel McAdams in the original film. They are joined by Auli'i Cravalho (Moana) and newcomer Jaquel Spivey as Cady's outcast friends Janis and Damian, who also act as the Greek chorus narrators of this version.
This new Mean Girls can simultaneously be viewed as an adaptation of the Broadway musical, while also being a reboot of the original film, updated to include social media platforms such as TikTok. This new film has some continuity with Tina Fey and Tim Meadows reprising their roles of math teacher Ms. Norbury and principal Mr. Duvall, respectively, with John Ham joining the faculty as gym teacher Coach Carr. There is also a bit of stunt casting with Busy Philipps, best known for playing mean girl Kim Kelly on the TV series Freaks and Geeks, appearing in the film as Regina George's mother.
My Thoughts on Mean Girls (2024)
The original Mean Girls from 2004 has ended up being a teen comedy that has stood the test of time. As such, it can be considered sacrilegious to some to reboot the film twenty years later, even if it is an adaptation of the Broadway musical, which is something that the marketing for the film has all but hidden. As for the film's status as a musical, the songs are hit-and-miss, with only a couple of standout musical numbers.
Reneé Rapp, who's a professional singer and played Regina George on Broadway from 2019-2020, stands out as having the best musical numbers in Mean Girls, particularly the showstopper “World Burn.” A distant second is Auli'i Cravalho, whose very punk rock performance as Janis is quite different from the songs she sang in Moana nearly a decade ago. Sadly, it is quite obvious that Angourie Rice is not a trained singer, with her musical numbers being the least appealing in the film. That said, I do have to give a special mention to Indian actress Avantika, who takes over the role of the attractive, yet dumb character of Karen, played by Amanda Seyfried in the original, who gets a fun Halloween-themed musical number called “Sexy.”
Other than the addition of the musical numbers, this new Mean Girls doesn't differ too greatly from the 2004 original. Probably the biggest difference has been the rise of social media, the original film predates Facebook, with the film finding a way to incorporate the “Burn Book” plot element from the original, while also featuring much TikTok commentary. The plot also features a couple of fourth-fall-breaking jokes, including the origins of Gretchen's catchphrase “Fetch,” and a surprise third-act cameo, which you should try to avoid reading anything about (including the IMDb cast list).
Overall, if you liked the original Mean Girls, you should like this one too, whether or not you are a fan of musicals.