"Mean Girls" (2024) is a musical adaptation that sets itself into modern-day life while bringing forward the charm of its source material, and even more. This film is a musical, and you should set your expectations before watching it. This adaptation is very different from the original Broadway musical and original material, so go into the film with those thoughts, and it's super enjoyable.
In this movie musical, a new student Cady Heron gets welcomed into the world of plastics at the top of the social pyramid of North Shore High. The leader of the plastics Regina George shows how cruel people can be when Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend and soon tumbles down the social pyramid taking everyone with her.
Starring Angourie Rice as Cady Heron, Reneé Rapp as Regina George, Christopher Briney as Aaron Samuels, Auli'i Cravalho as Janis Sarkisian, Jaquel Spivey as Damian Hubbard, Avantika Vandanapu as Karen Shetty, and Bebe Wood as Gretchen Wieners.
Auli'i Cravalho as Janis truly steals the show. Every time Janis came onto the screen, I knew it was going to be good. From “Apex Predator” to “Revenge Party,” the vocals sold the story. Just as well as her acting, as a package she truly made the whole performance top tier. Cravalho made the character of Janis her own, and it makes the film so successful. Other characters are amazing throughout, but I would see the movie again simply for her performance.
The transitions throughout the film are impeccable. There is a nice balance between musical tracks and speaking parts throughout the movie, and they transition perfectly between the two. Starting from the beginning of the film in the intro, we have our narrators (Janis and Damian) on a phone recording themselves, and it opens the shot into Cady's viewpoint seamlessly. They used modern proponents like video calling, and recording first person shots to move the story along, and fit into the plot without breaking that wall. Throughout the film, they used technology and scenery to transition scenes and make a movie with simply amazing cinematography.
Honorable mention: Reneé Rapp. She sells Regina George, and if I wasn't in awe of her just simply coming on screen, my jaw would drop from the sheer power in not only her voice, but her entire energy she brought to the role.
The musical numbers don't all carry the same weight. Even though the transitions are good, the musical numbers themselves feel extremely unbalanced. The beginning of the film with the intro song "A Cautionary Tale" from our narrators sets the bar super high, then moving straight into the song “What Ifs" sung by Cady Heron, it leaves a lot to be desired. While Angourie Rice would be perfect in a non-musical adaptation of "Mean Girls," it felt like all her songs sounded lackluster in her vocal tone, and the composition of her songs also fell flat. It felt like throughout the film, songs went from super amazing to bleh, and I wish as a musical they would all be on the same level.
I enjoyed the film; it just isn't entirely what I expected it to be. This definitely isn't a remake and it is a musical, but it's updated for the big screen, so it loses Broadway and becomes more Hollywood. It somehow falls into being too different from the original and too different from the Broadway musical, so it sits in this weird middle ground. With that being said, if you don't go into it expecting the original or the musical, it is a really fun movie.
I give “Mean Girls” (2024) an 8.5 out of 10.