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The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Modernization gone wrong: ‘Mean Girls’

The remake of the 2004 teen comedy film combines movie and musical, yet the awkward pacing and songs only disappoint.
Modernization+gone+wrong%3A+Mean+Girls
Paramount Pictures

Many high schoolers grew up watching the cult classic “Mean Girls”, and now it’s been modernized — but don’t waste your time going to watch it. The new movie musical, with a budget of $36 million, follows the plot of the original movie, based on the 2002 book “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” but includes songs based on the 2017 Broadway musical “Mean Girls”. 

Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. directed the movie. It features Reneé Rapp as Regina George, who also plays her on Broadway, Avantika Vandanapu as Karen, Auli’i Cravalho as Janis and Angourie Rice as Cady Heron. 

Right away, the movie begins disappointingly with the song “What Ifs,” where not only is Rice’s singing weak, but it also looks like she was doing a very bad lip sync to the song. On the other hand, Rapp and Cravalho’s singing throughout the movie is more powerful, and overall, the soundtrack is quite good. 

The movie was the first time I heard certain songs like “What’s Wrong With Me” and “Someone Gets Hurt,” and I really enjoyed them. However, the choreography and weird lighting during “Someone Gets Hurt” don’t fit the scene and take away from the song itself. Yet, “What’s Wrong With Me” was nice, as it foreshadows Gretchen’s character and highlights Regina’s narcissistic personality. 

The songs “World Burn” and “I’d Rather Be Me” are also done fairly well, but “Meet The Plastics” is half as long as the Broadway version and very disappointing. Although I hadn’t heard the song “Sexy” before, it wasn’t very good and felt like a filler song. 

In general, the movie is overly dramatic — not in a good way — especially during the songs with “Apex Predator,” which just made me cringe. It felt unnecessary and weird, with everyone acting like animals. Likewise, the bright and colorful “Revenge Party” scene feels out of place and, again, unnecessary. “Stupid With Love” looks and sounds stupid on-screen. 

The pacing of the movie is also bad. The whole first hour is really slow and doesn’t pick up until “Revenge Party,” yet the song itself feels rushed. The holiday talent show scene is a disaster; the jingle bell dance is different and more sexualized than before, and Regina’s subsequent fall from the social hierarchy comes out of the blue. Afterward, the inclusion of TikTok and social media clips is cringe and shows a lack of touch with modern audiences. Then, “World Burn” felt like the climax, and the rest of the movie was boring. 

As for the characters, Rapp does a fantastic job playing Regina, bringing in a strong presence — with a noticeable height gap between Rice and Rapp — and an interesting villain bit in the song “World Burn.” I actually like the new Regina more than the 2004 version, although the apology scene in the bathroom at the end seems out of character. I thought Gretchen was well-played and written. I enjoyed the awkwardness that is Regina’s mom; she made me cringe — but in a good way — and felt realistic. However, I do feel Tina Fey played a more developed Ms. Norbury in the original “Mean Girls” film. 

It is nice to see some diversity with Karen, but she’s played as too dumb, with a blank look in her eyes, thereby ruining her character. Both Rice and Briney play unremarkable characters, and I could not feel interested in their romantic storyline. 

One thing I thought the movie did well was the wardrobe. It is fun and modern — a refreshing twist on the 2004 movie — without taking away from the plot or the characters. 

In the end, my thoughts on the movie are that if you don’t like musicals, don’t watch it; if you do like musicals, you’d probably be better off watching the Broadway show, even though I’ve never seen it. 

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About the Contributor
Isabella Kunc, Features Editor and Spread Editor
Hi! I am Isabella, Spread and Features editor for the 2023-24 school year. Journalism 1 and 2 were so fun last year that I decided to stay on staff as an editor. While reading and writing are my favorite pastimes, I also enjoy debating, running, singing, learning new languages, and hanging out in Theater. I hope you pick up the next Viewer issue and learn something new! Awards:  Best of SNO - Our community's car dependency
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