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Mean Girls | Review

By Aqsa Anwar

Rating: 5/5

Image: Joe Shlabotnik on flickr. License: CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

This adaptation of the Mean Girls story is based on the musical stemming from the creation of the massively successful 2004 film. After having viewed the 2024 offering, I’m inclined to extend the same degree of appreciation for it as the original one. The 2004 film was written by Tina Fey, as was the 2024 rendition so inevitably, the film still carries the same tonality that the first film saw being fully embraced by audiences.

The vocal ability of the entirety of the cast was perfection. Reneé Rapp in particular delivered  in the film with the wonderful maliciousness that was necessary as Regina George. She took on the 2024 Mean Girls role following her performance as Regina George in the Broadway musical itself.

Given Rapp's own singing career, the efficiency with which she would approach the role was never in doubt, and her transformation to Regina George was well executed acting-wise as well.

Angourie Rice playing Kady Heron was also phenomenal within her portrayal of a wide-eyed teenager attempting to find her feet in high school, having only been home-schooled previously. Helping to highlight the development within Kady’s character, the use of costumes was very successful as it creates such a contrast from when the audience first met Kady.

The contrast within both Rapp and Rice’s vocal quality further encapsulates the extent of the successful casting choices made. Rapp’s powerful and impressive range appropriately showcases the traits of Regina, while Rice's resounding clarity and stunning voice pitch highlights Kady’s characterisation as innocent and out of the ordinary.

Reneé Rapp. Image: Rob Corder on flickr. License: CC Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

Additionally, the musical moments scattered wonderfully throughout the movie are expertly executed in a range of ways. Some songs sung by Kady Heron are clearly meant to be interpreted as happening within her head, and even illustrate this through her realisation that she produced the movements of the choreography in reality. In contrast, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ sung by Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood) is perceived as being sung out loud back in the ‘real world’, which is something we are clued into through the confused reactions of the other characters to Gretchen’s song. The beautiful original song for the 2024 movie, ‘What if’s’, is a wonderful addition which provides even more to the already musically adept soundtrack from the musical.

In regard to the filmography, the stylised camera work utilised in the film creates an unexpected finesse that left the audience feeling as though they were truly being guided through the story, as opposed to being mere flies on the wall. This is taken further as the film transports effortlessly from place to place, with a swiftness that creates an experience that is very engaging for audiences, because this energy is constantly upheld. There is no area of this film  that is lacking in momentum, which helps create a thrilling and enjoyable atmosphere and a feeling that  it has been created with care and expert’s knowledge.

The 2024 movie attempts to incorporate modern elements including the use of social media, and the effect that it may have on the characters. This makes for an engaging watch as it provides elements that the characters from the original movie hadn't been seen with before. 

As for the rest of the plot, the message is overwhelmingly and unequivocally positive, given that the act of judging those around us is inevitably a fruitless endeavour, and pretending to be something we are not is a large waste of time. This provokes the thought that the message of the film is more serious than ever, even more so than when the 2004 film was made.

Key comedic moments such as ‘Sexy’, sung by Karen Shetty played by Avantika Vandanapu, is expertly performed as the actress embodies the characterisation of a ‘dumb’ yet endearing teenage girl whose performance was exemplary. Another comedic moment of note is Rapp’s portrayal of Regina George following an accident, which highlights just how versatile Rapp’s acting abilities are, as she is able to successfully bring humour into her character. Complete with a cameo appearance from a member of the cast of the original film, the 2024 version does well to remember the fan-favourite roots, tying together both films with a cohesive bow.

Overall, the 2024 edition of Mean Girls was wonderfully executed with the cast carrying their respective roles with a wonderful sense of joy and expertise. Mean Girls 2024 took an early 2000’s classic and adapted it to the modern day, whilst still keeping cultural references which made audiences first fall in love with the movie and its characters.


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