MEAN GIRLS: Cult Classic Turned Musical

MEAN GIRLS: Cult Classic Turned Musical

By: Kemar Noel

Since its initial release twenty years ago, “Mean Girls” has been dubbed a cult classic by many and is one of the movies that has stood the test of time.

“Mean Girls” has been many things throughout the years (a Broadway show, comedic movie, lackluster sequel, and parenting book), but this is the first time the Plastics have been put on the big screen in the form of a musical. 

Yet again, Tina Fey is the one in charge of the musical recast, and viewers wanted to know if Fey could recreate the magic of the original 2004 hit. 

The straightforward answer is simply, no.

“Mean Girls” (2004) follows the life of transfer homeschool student Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) who lived in Africa for the majority of her life. She has to quickly adjust to one of the scariest places known to man high school. 

Cady unwillingly joins the “Plastics,” a group of friends at the top of the social hierarchy, but after falling for the queen bee Regina George’s (Rachel McAdams) ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennet), she gets humiliated by her new “friends.” 

After this, Cady decides to take Regina down from the inside out by officially becoming one of the Plastics but starts to become more and more like the one she hates most throughout the film. Cady realizes what she has become and fixes things at the end making everyone know that it is okay to be themselves and not to seek validation from others.

This movie, while being a comedy, focused on different themes and topics, which added to its original success.

The problem with the 2024 musical is that, while it is a carbon copy, it lacked certain elements that made the first film work.

The film musical tries to replicate the same formula the 2004 film had, beat for beat. The only difference is that this version is a musical, yet the movie felt bland and out of place.

Angourie Rice plays the new Cady, and she lacked the comedic awkwardness Lohan possessed in the original as well as character and overall screen presence.

Rice didn’t have what it required to be a lead; she felt out of place and uncomfortable throughout the film and definitely didn’t do her predecessor justice.

While filling the shoes of Rachel McAdams and Lindsay Lohan is tough, there shouldn’t have been this big of a difference between how the characters were played. The casting choices were questionable, to say the least, and this movie felt like it was afraid to be the one thing that it desired to be, which is a musical. 

Another major problem was the way the music was constructed. The musical tried to make a soft indie pop vibe with its music rather than taking the theatrical route.

Rice isn’t the best singer, and it shows throughout the musical her vocals are choppy and devoid of emotion. The way the music was mixed in the studio beforehand was horrendous and there isn’t one musical number that lands throughout the film. These usually could be saved by good vocals but there wasn’t much of that either. The choreography felt akin to a TikTok dance rather than actual dancing.

It is hard for lovers of the original film to digest, but when choosing to adapt a film of this caliber, there is only so much that can be expected. Not one of the recreations has even a sliver of genuine enthusiasm or wit that the original undoubtedly possessed which made this musical film even harder to watch. I would definitely not recommend this film to anyone and will rate it a solid 3/10.

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