Starring: Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Auli’i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Christopher Briney, Jenna Fischer, Busy Philipps, Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, and Tim Meadows
Directors: Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.
If you’re going to remake a film that was released in the 21st century, you need to offer me something new. With Mean Girls, that offer is solely a transformation into a musical with relatively forgettable songs. Beyond that, it’s just a retread of the original with a perfectly fine new cast who, aside from Jaquel Spivey’s take on Damian, don’t outdo their predecessors. All of it has a very Disney Channel Original Movie vibe. With fresh eyes, those new to the films may have differing thoughts, but if you’ve seen the 2004 version, there just isn’t enough new here to warrant checking it out.
If being a musical is the only thing justifying the existence of Mean Girls (2024), then it probably should’ve had some better songs. There are about a dozen musical numbers in this broadway adaptation, and none of them are memorable. The singing isn’t terrible, but the dancing and cinematography are wildly underwhelming. The script was also a lot tamer than I was expecting, relying mostly on jokes from the original. While it isn’t awful, it’s pretty tough to recommend a musical without any good music. I wanted to enjoy it, but this new Mean Girls isn’t very fetch.
I don’t blame the Mean Girls’ actors for the numerous times I said “you’re no Amanda Seyfried/Amy Poehler/Lacey Chabert”. I blame writer Tina Fey (who was somehow no… Tina Fey) for not understanding that good remakes don’t recycle story beats without earning it with something original. Nor do good musicals give their leads the blandest musical numbers. I do recognize that Auli’i Cravalo and Jaquel Spivey wholly understood those facts, so two reels go to them. Plus another half reel because along with Reneé Rapp, they had to carry the second half of Fey’s carbon copy script on their backs.
As someone who loves the 2004 original and is a huge fan of musicals, Mean Girls should've been right up my alley. Unfortunately, this remake is a lazy carbon copy where everything is worse. Other than an entertaining Reneé Rapp, there was nothing to take away from this film beyond seeing actors poorly recreate well-known scenes and some forgettable songs accompanied by MTV-like musical numbers. I was genuinely taken aback when I found out Tina Fey wrote this. I don't know what happened, but she must have forgotten what made the first film so timeless.