"Mean Girls" (2024) Film Review

Mean Girls | Rotten Tomatoes

"Mean Girls" (2024) Film Review

Rating: 2.5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    In 2004, Tina Fey released one of the most famous teenage films of the 2000s, known as "Mean Girls". This hilarious film not only contains great jokes and gags, but fun performances that contribute to the overall message about friendship and the toxicity of having enemies at such a young age and how it contributes to negative affects that last a lifetime. Since then, the movie has been constantly praised and quoted throughout the years, which inspired Fey, Nell Benjamin, and Jeff Richmond to bring the iconic film to the Broadway stage. Because of the success of the Broadway play, Paramount greenlit a movie adaptation of the Broadway play, which I certainly had my doubts about. While it isn't a great film, and doesn't live up to the original at all, this is easily a very fun time, reminiscent of one of the early 2000 Disney Channel movies. 

    The film here follows the same premises and beats as the original, which follows Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), who is a foreign exchange student from Kenya that is attending American school for the very first time. Because of this, she doesn't really know how to fit into society and is floundering. Luckily for her, she is brought into the friend group that consists of social outcasts Janis (Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey). 

    Yet, at the same time, she also catches the attention of mean girl Regina George (Reneé Rapp), who is followed by her posse, which consists of Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood) and Karen Shetty (Avantika). They want to bring Cady into their coveted friend group, and Janis and Damian are all for it as they want Cady to report back to them what they say and try to sabotage the friend group. When she does though, she learns new things about herself and possibly turns into a worse version of the original mean girl. 

    In terms of the story and the film as a whole, I'm not really sure why this was made. I understand reboots are all the rave right now, but the original Mean Girls film is still relevant and fun today. There isn't really a reason for this new adaptation of the story to exist, and it honestly just seems like a major cash grab for the fans of the original and the Broadway play. While this movie really follows beat for beat of the original, it does add a little bit more spice to it in terms of the use of social media and the musical performances. 

    While the film and the plot are honestly uninspired and just serves as a sort of SparksNote version of the original movie, the performances here and the musical numbers are tons of fun and are very inspired. Rapp is great as this updated version of the iconic mean girl, and Wood is very good as the hilarious Gretchen; you can definitely see how the latter used inspiration from the original portrayal of the character. However, Avantika, Cravalho, and Spivey easily steal the show here. Avantika is perfect in this role and is absolutely hilarious in every scene she is in. Consider her performance of the song "Sexy" during the Halloween party. It all just works so well together. 

    Cravalho and Spivey are great as the two iconic characters that befriend Cady in the beginning of the film. They have numerous musical numbers present throughout the movie, and not only do they have great singing voices, but can also keep the audience entertained from beginning to end. On the flip side, I think Rice playing Cady is a total miscast. I'm not sure what the filmmakers were thinking of giving her this iconic role. Don't get me wrong - I think Rice is a good actress and she definitely gave it her all here. But, she simply doesn't fit the role at all.

    While the movie has its problem and simply isn't anything unique, it is still a lot of fun, Like I mentioned earlier, this movie easily reminds me of the TV movies from the Golden Era of the Disney Channel era, which I grew up with. Because of this, this movie easily gave me a lot of nostalgia and just kept a smile on my face from beginning to end. I definitely had a great time with this movie. 

    This film isn't great, nor is I think it is trying to be. It contains problems and there are definitely certain things that don't work, but it truly is very fun. It's incredibly cheesy and doesn't take itself seriously at all, which I'm honestly happy about. I would easily watch this film again just to have a fun viewing experience, and don't have to really think about what I watched or regard it highly. It serves its purpose as a goofy and enjoyable film, and it's better off because of it.