The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

That’s So Fetch! A Review of “Mean Girls”
Source: Paramount Pictures

The limit of Tina Fey’s additions to the “Mean Girls” universe does not exist. 

“Mean Girls” (2004), the timeless Tina Fey hit based on the self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman, is one of the most popular 2000s high school movies. After the movie was such a hit, Tina Fey wrote a musical adaptation with lyrics from Nell Benjamin and music from Jeff Richmond. The musical first premiered in 2017 at the National Theater in Washington, DC, and ran on Broadway from 2018 to 2020, when performances were stopped and eventually shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, a new “Mean Girls” movie, based off of this musical, was created.

In comparison to those who have seen the original “Mean Girls” (2004), much fewer have seen the musical. So, if you’re looking for a remake of the 2004 classic, you’ll be out of luck. As someone who loves musical theater, however, and saw the musical when it was on Broadway, I enjoyed this movie a lot. Some performances, though, were a lot better than others. 

Regina George (Renée Rapp), runs North Shore High School with her fellow “Plastics,” Gretchen (Bebe Woods), and Karen (Avantika). As Regina dominates the school as Queen Bee, Gretchen and Karen are at her beck and call, despite Regina mistreating them. 

Both Gretchen and Karen have one song of their own, which are very different from each other, but both amazing in their own way. After feeling hurt by Regina’s degrading words, Gretchen performs a slower song that embodies the struggles that many teenage girls often experience. Her vocals were beautiful, and a contrast to the sound and theme of the song “Sexy,” performed by Avantika, who plays Karen. 

Avantika was an amazing Karen, truly embodying the sheer cluelessness and dumbness of the original character. “Sexy” was an awesome musical twist on the famous scene in “Mean Girls” (2004), where Karen says, “I’m a sexy mouse, duh!” Karen was one of the funniest characters in the movie, in both the original and the musical, and this song really added to her performance. 

Additionally, songs performed by the dynamic duo Janice (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damien (Jaquel Spivey), were also exceptional. Janice and Damien originally befriend Cady (Angourie Rice), and get Cady to be friends with Regina in the Plastics in order to get revenge for the way Regina had treated Janice. Auli’i Cravalho shows great talent throughout the movie, especially in the song “Apex Predator.”

Among all of the actors, Reneé Rapp, who also played Regina George on Broadway from 2019-2020, was undoubtedly the standout of the movie. Her first song, “Meet the Plastics,” was a spin on the classic introduction of Regina, Gretchen, and Karen to Cady. Rapp plays Regina remarkably, truly embodying the character of someone who rules the school. 

After Cady establishes her crush on Aaron, played by Chris Briney who starred in the hit coming-of-age show “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” Regina’s character really comes out in “Someone Gets Hurt.” Along with Rapp’s outstanding vocals, the true toxicity in the love triangle between Cady, Aaron, and Regina becomes evident. Where Rapp really delivered was in her performance of “World Burn.” 

After Regina drops the famous Burn Book, a collection of photos and rude comments made by Regina and the Plastics about all the girls in the Junior class, in the middle of the school, she mirrors her first song “Meet the Plastics,” singing the same lyrics: “My name is Regina George / And I am a massive deal,” once again displaying her dominance over everyone else in the school. Not only did she deliver in her vocals, but the song incredibly conveyed the character of Regina George whom so many of us are familiar with. 

However, some songs fell flat. “Stupid With Love,” performed by Angourie Rice who plays Cady, was not as great, especially in comparison to the absolute powerhouse Reneé Rapp. The song “Stupid With Love” is centered around Cady’s new crush on Aaron, where Cady explains that she’s “smart with math but stupid with love.” Rice’s vocals were somewhat flat, and compared to the Broadway version of the song, far less enthusiastic. Notes in the song had been changed, allowing for less excitement and build-up when the song was adapted for the screens. While Angourie Rice is a great actress, and the note changes in her song were not her fault, I think the film would have been better cast with someone who sings more professionally or has more of a musical theater sound. 

Additionally, the song “Revenge Party,” mainly performed by Auli’i Cravahlo and Jaquel Spivey, was a fun and energetic song, but during Rice’s part, it felt like little emotion was conveyed with her singing. 

 Although most of the music is great, the movie tried a bit too hard at times to incorporate Gen-Z life, including aspects of social media like TikTok, into the film. Throughout the movie, different characters (who also did not interact with any of the main characters) share gossip about Regina and Cady on social media, which appears to mirror the popular social media app TikTok. Although the directors might have been trying to pander to a mainly Gen-Z audience, they tried a little too hard, and it came off as cringe-worthy. Gossip accounts about influencers and celebrities exist, but they don’t really exist to talk about regular high schoolers. So instead of making this aspect of the movie more relatable, they made it unrealistic. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was super fun, it made me laugh out loud a few times, and it was a great addition to the “Mean Girls” universe, despite its differences from the original film. I think that Chris Briney conveyed the sense of charm and charisma that Aaron has really well. The film included a variety of cameos, some more successful than others. Lastly, keeping Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury, Cady’s calculus teacher, and Tim Meadows as Principal Duvall gave a nostalgic touch to the movie. 

If you go into this movie not understanding that it’s a musical, you’re probably going to find the movie cringey, maybe a bit awkward, and disappointing. But if you appreciate that fact, then you’ll enjoy “Mean Girls” for all its quirks, jokes, fun, songs, and fetch-ness.

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