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The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

MOVIE REVIEW: Adaptation of Broadway’s ‘Mean Girls’ succeeds with musical that’s so ‘fetch’

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All images used with permission from EPK TV
Angourie Rice plays Cady Heron (center) who along with her two new friends at North Shore High School finds an area on campus where they can spy on Regina George to plot revenge against her.

The iconic “Mean Girls” (2004) movie remains a popular classic among teens, and although hardly anything can surpass it, the new adaptation of the same name is one worth watching. 

The decision to make the reboot a musical adds to the lighthearted and comedic feeling the audience gets throughout the two-hour film.

Although the 2024 version is indeed a remake of the one made two decades ago, the film is actually a direct adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same title, which made its world premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., in 2017. The Broadway version was in turn based on the 2004 comedy film. All the songs and lyrics in the film — released on Friday, Jan. 12 — stem from this stage performance.

Actress Reneé Rapp’s Regina George (center) and her Plastics pal gals check out the newcomer to North Shore High School in the modern adaptation of the Broadway musical, “Mean Girls.”

The main theme remains intact in each production as screenwriter Tina Fey (“Mr. Mayor”), who also plays the role of teacher Sharon Norbury in the 2004 and 2024 movies, wrote all three versions of “Mean Girls.”

Co-directed by Samantha Jayne (“Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke & Hangry”) and Arturo Perez Jr. (“Quarter Life Poetry”), this version features Angourie Rice (“The Last Thing He Told Me”) as the protagonist, Cady Heron, who was played famously in the 2004 version by Lindsay Lohan.

The film introduces her as a former homeschooled student from Africa who moves to America and attends a public school for the first time in her life. Cady somehow gets caught in the drama with the Plastics: Regina George (Reneé Rapp, “The Sex Lives of College Girls”), Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood, “Accused”) and Karen Shetty (Avantika Vandanapu, “The Sex Lives of College Girls”) — the popular queen bees who rule North Shore High School.

The heroine steps into trouble when she develops a crush on Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney, “The Summer I Turned Pretty”), the cute guy in her math class and also Regina’s ex.

Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey, “Made in Hollywood”) and Janis ‘Imi’ike (Auli’i Cravalho, “Hailey’s on It!”), who are known as the art freaks and social pariahs of North Shore, take the newbie under their wing and teach her all the things she needs to know to survive there. Despite Damian and Janis’ warning that Regina would ruin Cady’s life if she gets too close to her, Cady proceeds to join their clique and even replaces Regina as the leader of the Plastics at one point.

The musical successfully incorporates the key scenes without drastically changing the storyline, as most adaptations tend to do. Throughout the movie, “fetch,” a term coined by Gretchen, is repeatedly used to describe something trendy or fashionable, just like in the original.

Tina Fey, who plays Ms. Norbury, stands in front of her Advanced Placement Calculus AB class after introducing the new student.

Additionally, each song matches its corresponding scene fittingly and adds a more upbeat spirit to the story, while some do the opposite. For example, Regina’s song near the start of the movie, “World Burn,” flawlessly captures the grave essence of the scene while claiming her position as the alpha of her campus.

The remake also cleverly implements several modern takes along the storyline, such as cameos of famous TikTok influencers reacting to some of Cady or Regina’s actions in the movie. One scene that will leave viewers with a nostalgic, lasting impression occurs when Lohan makes a special appearance as a judge in the Mathletes competition and another when Tim Meadows (“Krapopolis”) reappears as principal Ron Duvall in this version as well. 

The cast chosen for this movie matches each of its characters well, particularly Vandanapu, who embodies Karen’s role perfectly. She captures Karen’s innocent and empty-headed personality with doe eyes, proving she is the perfect fit for her.

However, although Rapp skillfully executes Regina’s role, the character in the new movie itself fails to embody the original Regina. Regina in the previous movie version is depicted as a mean but redeemable character, but in this version, the director portrays her as a complete villain. Because of this shift in demeanor, the antagonist comes off as more flat and less developed.

The Plastics make a comeback in the new “Mean Girls” movie, released in theaters on Friday, Jan. 12.

For example, her stinging comments toward Gretchen and Karen make her seem less like their friend and more like a bully. Of course, the whole point of the movie is about “mean girls,” but the movie makes her crueler than before, making it harder for viewers to empathize with her when she finally has character development.

The overall storyline is very similar to the original, with only a few minor changes to some scenes. In one scene in the original, Cady, Damian and Janis attempt to get revenge on Regina by cutting up her shirt in the girls’ locker room but fail after she becomes a trendsetter. However, in the musical, they turn on the sprinklers on the football field and ruin her makeup instead.

Small changes to details like these made the remake unique in its own way and not just a dupe of the 2004 version while still keeping the essence of the story intact.

Even after 20 years, “fetch” never goes out of style.

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Faith Jung, Entertainment Editor
After spending her first year on The Accolade staff as the social media manager, junior Faith Jung returns as the arts & entertainment editor for the 2023-2024 school year. Jung is excited to work with the rest of the staff once again to write more stories and expand the influence of the school paper. Aside from working for The Accolade, Jung often takes part in community service, club activities and studying. She also likes to watch Korean dramas and hang out with her friends in her free time.
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