The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

‘Mean Girls’ is Far From Fetch

%E2%80%9CMean+Girls+features+a+brand+new+cast+based+on+the+2004+film+and+the+2017+musical+of+the+same+name.++Avantika%2C+Rene%C3%A9+Rapp+and+Bebe+Wood+play+the+famed+trio+of+Karen+Shetty%2C+Regina+George+and+Gretchen+Wieners+who+rule+the+%E2%80%9Cgirl+world%E2%80%9D+of+North+Shore+High+School.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
“Mean Girls” features a brand new cast based on the 2004 film and the 2017 musical of the same name. Avantika, Reneé Rapp and Bebe Wood play the famed trio of Karen Shetty, Regina George and Gretchen Wieners who rule the “girl world” of North Shore High School.

From stage to screen, the movie adaptations of beloved musicals from the 20th century to today are celebrated across the globe. Movie musicals transform soulful vocals and captivating choreography into cultural sensations like “Grease” in the late 1970s. They are Academy Award winners like “Les Misérables” or successful remakes of past movie musicals like “West Side Story (2021).”

Yet “Mean Girls (2024),” the latest movie musical based on Tina Fey’s 2004 cult classic, is a rehashed and unnecessary remake that disgraces both the original movie and the 2018 Broadway adaptation. Innocent Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) succumbs to the pressure of the “Plastics:” queen bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp), right-hand woman Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood) and bubbly yet brainless Karen Shetty (Avantika). Accompanied by social pariahs Janis Imi’ike (Auliʻi Cravalho) and Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey), Cady takes down Regina’s regime only to become a shallow Plastic in the process.

Rice delivered an unmemorable lead performance, executing an awkward and dull version of Lindsay Lohan’s original naive yet charming delivery. Besides not meeting the high expectations of her acting role, Rice fell the most flat on vocals. In the Broadway musical, Erika Henningsen’s voice as Cady is wonderfully genuine, her enthusiastic vigor shining through in numbers like “Stupid With Love” and “Apex Predator.” Meanwhile, one wonders how Rice’s voice was considered in the lead selection when her renditions translated quite poorly on screen. “Revenge Party” was a particularly painful watch, where even with Cravalho and Spivey contributing most of the energy, the once vengeful Broadway Cady became an uncompelling character.

Theater veteran Rapp shone as Regina, her alluring vocals (from experience playing the same character on Broadway) being the star of an otherwise underwhelming and small soundtrack. But why bother creating a movie musical if only 12 out of the original 21 songs are included? Why butcher “Meet the Plastics” into a Regina-only introduction? Why cut out dance numbers like “Stop” and “Do This Thing” for the sake of sticking to the overused lines of the 2004 film? By repeating iconic lines like “You go, Glenn Coco” or “On Wednesdays, we wear pink” they felt expected, which backfired and ruined the delivery.

Fey attempts to modernize her script by incorporating social media elements like viral videos and tiled TikTok screens, even featuring some of today’s influencers, but she really just amps up the cringe factor. The musical has no time for the scenes and lessons that once defined “Mean Girls.” Authenticity and depth are lost — the tensions amidst the Plastics themselves, Janis’s subtle manipulation and the gradual and symbolic evolution of Cady’s clothes are all sacrificed for distressing melodies and average costume design.

Far from sensational, the film should have gone straight to streaming. It belongs with the other poorly-made teenage flicks; after all, it fits right in with its unappealing one-liners and social media filters. Never has a remake failed to do justice for its Broadway counterpart so horribly.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Portola Pilot
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Portola High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Contributor
Elise Ngo, Features Editor
Elise Ngo is the Features Editor for her second and final year on the Portola Pilot. When not obsessing over Instagram labradoodles or harassing her older sister to buy Cha for Tea popcorn chicken, you can find her having existential crises during hikes in Shady Canyon while listening to her favorite musicals. In the newsroom, if not being mixed up with Maddie, she’s abusing em dashes and asking Tara for headline puns. She’s thrilled for another year with her divine Pilot peers.
Donate to Portola Pilot
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Portola Pilot Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *