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“Mean Girls” in 2024 is a “fetch” tribute to the original “Mean Girls” with a modern spin that intertwines music numbers taken from the Broadway Musical version of the movie. Followers of the popular musical will be treated to some surprise new songs thrown into the new “Mean Girls” movie. Fans of the original film may be a little disappointed that 1) it’s a musical, and 2) a lot of the same lines remain in this movie, making it a little bit dated, NOT updated! For instance, the characters still use phrases such as “loser” and “shut up.”
The movie opens with a narration of sorts by two main characters Janis, and Damian who promise a bus accident. Oh, yeah, we know what’s coming!
Written once again by Tina Fey, this film was directed by Samantha Jayne, and Arturo Perez Jr. We’ve gone from 2004, where the stars of this updated remix of “Mean Girls” were between the ages of two and four, to now, 2024. Not a lot has changed. During a recent re-watching of the original, it’s easy to see why this movie remains such a Pop Culture classic. Because it withstands the test of time. In fact, Fey specifically stated that she intentionally did not add trendy slangs that last for a minute, in the script as to not date it.
“Mean Girls” from 2004 is a movie done so well visually and story wise that it could have very well taken place anytime between 2004 to 2015 it feels so relevant. The new Mean Girls very much heeded that vibe because not a whole lot was changed from the original.
One thing’s for certain, the updated version has a fiercer Regina George in Renee Rapp who is a singer, songwriter and actress that took the meanness in the character up a notch. She also starred in the Broadway musical “Mean Girls” from the age of 19. Rapp’s Regina is a meaner version to Rachel McAdams’ more passive aggressive revenge antics.
It’s an impressive cast of actors and singers starting with Angourie Rice playing Cady Heron who becomes “Apex Predator” Regina George’s, number one nemesis. Both Tina Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles as Calculus teacher Ms. Norbury and school principal Mr. Duvall respectively. SPOILER ALERT – the characters’ romance has budded into marriage (or at least living together) in this updated version.
Cady’s best friends Janis and Damian are portrayed by Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey respectively. There has been an update with the character Janis’ last name to reflect the actress’ heritage, as she stated in an interview with Fandango.
Ironically, the actress who plays Gretchen, Bebe Wood, it was her second time working with Tina Fey. The first was during a guest spot on “30 Rock.” In a Fandango interview, Bebe said she didn’t get to meet the actress who played Gretchen in the Musical, Ashley Park, who is in the film portraying French teacher Madame Park. Karen is played charmingly by dancer and actress Avantika. Another SPOILER, audiences will see the return of original cast member, Lindsey Lohan, who played Cady in the 2004 version return in a different role towards the end of this movie!
Both Karen and Gretchen are characters that feel more distant in this new “Mean Girls” than in the original. The heavy focus is primarily on Cady and Regina. Even the supporting characters get more screen time. Audiences can be forewarned by just looking at the poster for the 2024 version where Gretchen and Karen are clearly left out.
Some of the montage scenes were tastefully shortened to help with the extended time of the film caused by musical numbers throughout, which helped propel characters’ thoughts, feelings, and of course, revenge! One such scene was when Cady, Janis and Damian were planning a trap for Regina’s boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney “The Summer I Turned Pretty”) to catch her cheating on him. Another one was the film’s ending that displayed how the character grew apart, but learned to appreciate the differences in others.
In one scene after Regina discovers the Kalteen bars that Cady gave her to lose weight are actually making her gain weight, Regina seeks revenge by planning to expose the Burn Book and this is expressed with a musical number where she sings about Cady may have won the battle, but Regina will win the war!
The underlying theme of high schoolers behaving with animalistic actions connecting Cady’s time in Africa was also pulled from the original, along with Gretchen’s desire to start a new trend for everyone to start using the word “fetch.”
A reflection of how the times have changed since 2004 when the film was first released, can be seen with the onslaught of popularity of social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Megan Thee Stallion makes two appearances in the girls TikToks, the last one she’s perplexed as to why she keeps seeing the Regina George and Cady feud in her feed.
“Mean Girls” takes a few stabs at itself by adding some inside jokes along the way. One other surprise is, this version of the film added a scene that was previously deleted from the original one. That was the bathroom scene with Cady and Regina after Regina was hit by the bus. Watch it below.
The famous Christmas Jingle dance also has a new spin with the havoc being caused by Cady dropping Regina, after not heeding Gretchen’s suggestion of doing a run-through beforehand due to Regina’s sudden weight gain. After Regina learns of Cady’s string of sabotaging incidents to derail her life, things come to a head, resulting in the scene where Regina gets hit by a bus. Thanks to the power of social media, this time everyone from North Shore High School to rap artist Megan Thee Stallion hear about it!
Fans of the Broadway musical may enjoy this “Mean Girls” a bit more than avid fans of the original version due to the new numbers thrown in and the music video-like scenes. As for someone who appreciates the original one, just go re-watch that and save the ticket money. If you’re someone from GenZ who’s never experienced “Mean Girls” before, you may be a little bewildered as to why it feels so old? “Mean Girls” opens in theaters Friday, January 12th.