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Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Getting the Plastics back together: ‘Mean Girls’ is revived for theater release

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Revived for the big screen, “Mean Girls” (2024) returned to theaters, not as an adaptation of the original movie, but based on the Broadway musical. It premiered nationwide on Friday, Jan. 12, and generated $33.2 million over the weekend it was released in theaters.  

Neither audiences nor critics are thoroughly impressed with the film. On Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave it a rating of 71%, and audiences were harsher, with a score of 63%. On IMDb, it has a rating of 6.3 stars out of 10, and it has an overall rating of 3 stars out of 5 on Letterboxd by users. 

Although the movie is based on the Broadway musical, there were significant changes made to make it more appropriate for a cinematic presentation. Many songs were removed from the soundtrack, such as “It Roars,” replaced by a new song called “What Ifs”; “Fearless”; and “Stop.” The songs that do make a reappearance sound significantly different from their original counterparts.  

Reneé Rapp, who played Regina George, was the most anticipated appearance. Her fan base has already been established by her role in the Max TV show “The Sex Lives of College Girls” and her emerging career as a music artist. She also played Regina George on Broadway in 2019.  

Her portrayal of Head Girl in Charge Regina, can be at times frightening, humorous or seductive. Rapp’s voice is also beyond impressive and booms when she sings.    

The movie’s versions of songs either become electropop singles or use less instrumental music to play behind lead singers. In the case that a plot-propelling song is not fortified by instruments, the focus of the songs becomes the individual who is in frame at the moment. 

Although Rapp was a prominent star in the movie, all the main cast members wonderfully present their characters. Angourie Rice as Cady Heron physically looks like a dictionary example of awkwardness until she is transformed to replace Regina as head of the Plastics. Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey pair well as best friends Janis and Damian.  

Karen Shetty, played by Avantika, is hilariously stupid and her wide-eyed look shows an utter lack of thought. Actress Bebe Woods masterfully plays an anxious and insecure Gretchen Wieners.  

The only character to be disappointed in is Aaron Samuels, played by Christopher Briney. Although Aaron Samuels sings in the Broadway musical, Briney cannot and refused to sing in the movie adaptation, despite it being a musical. He also did not give “boy next door” as much as Jonathan Bennett did in the original “Mean Girls” movie, released in 2004. 

The plot of the movie has not changed, but its depiction to audiences has. The new version is a modernized approach to the story. TikTok narratively plays a huge role in its progression and turns Regina, and later Cady, from a mere popular girl in high school into an internet celebrity. In addition, there are plenty of pop culture references to be enjoyed. 

Despite mild audience scores, this movie was a wonderful adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway show. It was a courageous and creative endeavor to meld together the aesthetics of the original movie and the ideas from the musical.  

The choice to use TikTok also makes the movie more relevant, because it is not unusual today to see someone young rise to fame on the internet. The cast all gave wonderful performances, and those who did sing did so skillfully.

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