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Is the New ‘Mean Girls’ a Worthy Remake?

Find out if the new musical revamp of Mean Girls is “so fetch,” or just a watered-down remake of the beloved classic.

Avantika, Reneé Rapp, and Bebe Wood as The Plastics in 'Mean Girls.' Credit: Paramount

Get in, loser, Mean Girls is back! The 2024 adaptation of the Broadway musical, based on the original movie from 2004, is finally here.

Mean Girls hit theaters on January 12 and has spent two consecutive weeks at the top of the US box office. Not too bad for a remake, right? And a musical, too. But let’s be honest: the original Mean Girls is a beloved movie with a very dedicated audience. Any movie attempting to bring it back has a high bar to cross.

So, does the new Mean Girls have what it takes to follow in its footsteps? Well, let’s find out.

How ‘Mean Girls’ stays true to the original

The original Mean Girls from 2004 is easily one of the most quotable movies of the 21st century. The script, expertly written by Tina Fey, is hilarious, singular, and a massive reason why the movie has become so iconic.

So, for any fans of the original, fear not! Fey returned to write the script for the new movie, and it shows. The 2024 Mean Girls keeps many of the first film’s most famous lines, while also adding in some fresh comedic bits of its own.

The Plastics in the cafeteria in a still from 'Mean Girls.'
Bebe Wood, Reneé Rapp, and Avantika as The Plastics in ‘Mean Girls.’ Credit: Paramount

Beyond just the dialogue, Mean Girls retains many of its most memorable scenes that fans adore. Whether it’s slutty Halloween costumes, a sexy Jingle Bell Rock dance, or a Mathletes competition, the movie clearly knows exactly what people love about the first one.

So then, what does this version bring to the table that fans haven’t seen before?

‘Mean Girls’ is a modern-day musical

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the new Mean Girls to the 2004 movie, as this version is actually based on the stage musical, which first premiered on Broadway in 2018. Translating a musical to the screen is a pretty big undertaking, but thankfully, Mean Girls already has some great songs in its bag.

The music is clearly designed to highlight Regina George, played in this movie by an excellent Reneé Rapp. But the songs also allow other characters to shine, too. Especially Karen (Avantika), who is given a very funny song during the Halloween party sequence called “Sexy.”

And yet, probably the biggest difference between Mean Girls and the original is that it is set in modern times. The internet plays a big role in the movie, showing how The Plastics would rule a school nowadays through trends and gossip on social media.

But the question remains: how well does the movie hold up to the original? And, perhaps more importantly, how good is it at being a musical?

‘Mean Girls’ is messy, fun, and well-intentioned

As a whole, Mean Girls is a bit of a mixed bag. As we mentioned previously, it’s got some great songs and plenty of references to its namesake. Though, some of those references can feel a little hollow — almost like the movie’s afraid to tell a different joke.

On top of that, the musical numbers aren’t executed as well as they should be. Movie musicals require a certain vision and directing style that this one just doesn’t have. Because of that, many of the standout moments from the stage version fall pretty flat here.

Damien, Cady, and Janice hiding behind bushes in a still from 'Mean Girls.'
Jaquel Spivey, Angourie Rice, and Auli’i Cravalho in ‘Mean Girls.’ Credit: Paramount

Of course, the movie’s not all bad. It still has much of the same charm as the original, and the cast is stacked with great singers. Rapp as Regina is a clear standout, but Auli’i Cravalho as Janice also brings it in more ways than one. Her song, “I’d Rather Be Me,” is one of the best moments of the entire movie.

And the movie is obviously doing great business at the box office, which is very impressive for a movie like Mean Girls. This leads us to our final point.

So, is the new ‘Mean Girls’ worth seeing?

It’s hard to think of another movie that’s had more of a cultural impact than the original Mean Girls from 2004. People of all ages have seen it, love it, and recognize it as one of our finest teen comedies.

So, remaking a movie like this was always going to be met with criticism. In fact, it’s certain to be met with even more in the coming weeks as more people have the chance to see it.

The Plastics performing Jingle Bell Rock in a still from 'Mean Girls.'
Avantika, Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, and Bebe Wood in ‘Mean Girls.’ Credit: Paramount

But rest assured, Mean Girls is sure to entertain audiences, as it already has in the last two weeks since its release. So, whether you’re a fan of the first movie or the Broadway show, the movie has a lot to offer that’s both fresh and nostalgic.

Mean Girls is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Written By

Student at the University of Utah and Storytelling Enthusiast

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