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Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

“Mean Girls” plays too nice

Paramount Pictures
“Mean Girls” (2024) is an adaptation of both a musical and 2004 movie of the same name.

“Mean Girls” (2004) has cemented itself as a cult classic during the 20 years since its release. The biting satire, iconic lines and star studded cast emblematic of the era have all added to its appeal over the past two decades since it hit the big screen. “Mean Girls” (2024) would be so lucky to reach the same status.

The 2024 movie-musical adaptation follows the same story as the original- Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) is let into the elite clique of her school called “The Plastics”. The leader of the group, Regina George (Rene​é Rapp), gets nasty when Cady falls for her ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney). 

“Mean Girls” (2024) is an adaptation of the 2017 broadway musical of the same name, incorporating many of the songs from the musical into the film. The broadway versions of each song are full of life and contain much of that classic broadway drama and flair, while the film versions of each song sound empty and not quite finished, almost as if they were produced on a rushed deadline. 

Rapp’s vocals for the most part are consistently well done, thanks in part to her history of playing the role of Regina George on Broadway, giving her apt training for the film. While Rapp’s vocal performance was honestly rather good, Rice’s performance was the opposite. Rice’s vocals are bland and emotionless. In moments where the vocals should be powerful and dramatic, Rice falls short of delivering the intended emotions. A prime example of this is in the song “Stupid With Love”, where Rice is singing of her character’s strong feeling of adoration towards Briney’s character, but upon hearing it, Rice sounds as though she’s completely indifferent towards Briney. 

Much like the music, the movie’s dialogue lacks the satirical edge of the original film. While the original 2004 film was a scathing satire about social hierarchies and cliques, the 2024 remake is a hollow rehashing of a story told one too many times before. The girls in this movie aren’t even really mean- they’re painfully sarcastic. Several lines taken from the original movie are also somewhat censored; such as the phrase “social suicide” being changed to “socially ruinous”. It is almost as though the film is scared of being “canceled” among its younger audience, so it skirts around any words that could be deemed offensive. 

“Mean Girls” (2024) refuses to really critique any of the characters, instead trying to make them all likable, which goes against the entire base concept of the film. The 2024 remake removes nearly anything of substance, replacing it with a dull attempt to recreate the iconicism of the 2004 original for a younger generation. 

Perhaps the directors of the film, Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., considered the younger generation too much when devising “Mean Girls” (2024). The constant references to social media such as TikTok or Instagram are exhausting, and the excessive use of Gen Z slang is almost embarrassing to listen to. The costumes are cheap and look as though every piece can be seen on the front page of fast fashion websites like Shein. The desperate attempts to appeal to Gen Z almost never land, and the few times they do land, it’s never for the reason intended. 

The film isn’t all bad, though. Smaller roles like those of Jon Hamm and Tina Fey add a good laugh here and there. The performances by Auli’i Cravahlo, who plays Janis Sarkisian, and Jaquel Spivey, who plays Damian Hubbard, are two of the highlight performances of the film. Along with a select few of the songs, most of the enjoyment of “Mean Girls” (2024) comes from supporting performances that don’t get nearly enough screen time. 

“Mean Girls” (2024) is a boring rehashing of a tired story told one too many times before. The movie is symbolic of a much larger problem than simply making a bad movie; it’s representative of a loss of originality in modern day Hollywood. Making a movie that’s been done twice before in two different mediums over the span of two decades is not only unoriginal, it’s simply lazy. 

Creating a movie as an easy cash grab isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s becoming more and more common. Each year, audiences are subjected to countless remakes and unnecessary sequels of beloved films- in 2023 alone, viewers saw remakes of “The Little Mermaid” and “White Men Can’t Jump” and the sequels such as the sixth installment of “Scream” and the tenth of “Saw”. 

“Mean Girls” (2024) proves that not every single movie needs a remake, and not every musical needs an adaptation. 

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About the Contributor
Taryn Atwater
Taryn Atwater, Staff Writer
Hi!! My name is Taryn Atwater. I am a staff writer for wired. I am currently a senior and this is my third year  in journalism. A fun fact about me is I have a cat named Giovanni. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected].
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